At a District Councils’ Network (DCN) roundtable, officers said the absence of certainty about reforms meant they feared buying new vehicles now that do not meet the Government’s future requirements.

In May 2021, Whitehall published proposals to bring about a more consistent approach to collecting residual waste and recycling across waste disposal authorities in England.

More than two years after the consultation closed, councils are still waiting for details.

Amid the delay, DCN member councils met to discuss the challenges facing waste services.

On top of the issue of uncertainty affecting vehicle procurement plans, a key challenge cited at the roundtable discussion was the increasing cost of services due to energy price inflation and workforce challenges.

Authorities reported difficulties retaining HGV drivers for waste trucks amid an ongoing shortage that has led to higher demands for pay.

DCN modelling indicates that the cost of environmental services increased by almost 46% between 2021-22 and 2022-23, largely due to higher fuel and salary costs.

Authorities also said the Government should put more emphasis on investing in hydrogen to help decarbonise fleets, and noted that electric vehicle batteries are often not strong enough to enable them to reach more rural areas.

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