I would like to make a comment about the scrapping of garden waste collections while the country deals with the devastation of coronavirus.

I for one, congratulate Braintree Council on the decision to stop the collection of garden waste, and instead, concentrate its scarce resources on ensuring that household black waste, food waste and recycling continue to be collected.

As we all should be more than aware, the crews on these vehicles are at high risk of exposing themselves to this deadly virus, due to the nature of the job. Those dustcarts do not drive themselves, and we have a national shortage of HGV drivers in this country.

It is a profession that is extremely heavily regulated, and costly were a person wish to take up as a career, one of the main reasons for such a shortage.

BDC has a duty to plan and make the most of the scarce resources it has, so just imagine if just four drivers were to have to self-isolate for two weeks...that would potentially mean 40 collection days those vehicles are unable to make unless replacement HGV drivers can be found.

This is not an easy task for BDC as the modern day dustcart driver needs many skills, ie the ability to safely navigate a 26-ton monster around estates, and narrow streets. These streets are often packed with parked vehicles and children, leaving little room for error of judgment when driving around such a restricted space. All this while ensuring the safety of the public along with the vehicle loaders can be quite daunting.

By temporarily halting garden waste collections, BDC has given itself a margin to allow for any eventuality regarding possible driver absences that arise due to Government instructions to help stop the spread of the virus.

I for one, am more than happy to make a compost pile of my garden waste, to ensure that we do not suffer the disastrous consequences of household waste rotting and becoming rat-infested havens in our streets.

I do have a certain empathy with comments regarding how local politicians can make a mountain out of a molehill, however, on this occasion, I feel they have got it bang on.

Well done BDC,

I would also like to take this opportunity to say big thank you to all those crews out there, putting themselves at risk every day to keep our streets clean and safe from vermin.

Stephen Lake

Edinburgh Gardens