Biffa ‘working hard’ to lessen impact of lorry driver shortage

Waste collection giant Biffa has said it is “working hard” to lessen the impact of the nationwide lorry driver shortage on its services as households suffer lengthy delays to bin collections across the UK.

In a trading update, the group – which collects waste for more than 30 councils across the country – confirmed it was facing pressure on its services from the mounting HGV driver crisis.

It comes as at least 18 councils across the UK are said to be experiencing delays to their rubbish collections, with bins and food waste being left on the streets in many areas throughout this week’s searing hot weather.

Three local authorities in Devon recently wrote to Home Secretary Priti Patel to express their concern about staff shortages in waste and recycling divisions across the country.

It follows an apparent exodus of drivers from EU countries, who returned to the continent during the coronavirus pandemic and remained there.

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The three councils said they were left with vacancies equating to around 20% of their HGV workforce and struggling to bring on new recruits to plug the gap.

Biffa had recently said the effects of the national lorry driver shortage “have been widely felt” across the sector and that it is boosting efforts to recruit new drivers.

In its latest update, Biffa said: “As with many other businesses across the UK, we are working hard to mitigate the impact of the national shortage of HGV drivers, along with other supply chain challenges, on our services.”

The comments came as it said that revenues rose 12% in the five months to August against 2019 levels despite the driver woes, and 3% higher with acquisitions stripped out.

Biffa upped its full-year outlook in July as it said trading had been better than expected thanks to the wider UK economic bounce-back.

It said at the time that annual underlying earnings were set to be 10% higher than previously guided.