Severe weather FAQs

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Frequently asked questions in the event of severe weather affecting waste service delivery

The decision over whether or not to suspend the waste service in adverse weather is made jointly by Tewkesbury Borough Council officers and Ubico managers very early in the morning. Uppermost in our minds is public safety. We ask ourselves if there a risk that heavy vehicles could have an accident on the roads and perhaps cause damage to property or injury to people - or potentially worse. We also need to think about crew safety.

The decision has to be made on the average condition across the whole route that is due to be travelled that day. It may well be that access to your property and those nearby is possible but that may not be true for the rest of the collection route on which you are located. Many of the small roads across our borough will remain very icy. We want to ensure that our waste collection service is delivered as safely as possible.

In the event that a decision is made to suspend services, we will do all we can to get back to normal as soon as conditions improve.

Below are some of the common questions we are asked:

How can I find out about whether services have been suspended?

We will update our website each morning during the disruption to keep you informed. Our bad weather page also gives advice to help residents decide how and when to present their waste. We will also notify the local radio stations and use social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Where I live the roads look passable. Why have you failed to collect my waste?

Our contractor’s depot is based in Cheltenham. While road conditions may have improved where you live, it does not automatically follow that it is safe in other areas of the borough. When deciding whether the collection vehicles should go out we will not only consider the conditions at the time and in the local vicinity but also the condition of the collection route and whether the vehicles will be able to return to the depot safely. 

The disposal sites also need to be open and accessible. The location of the site will change depending on the type of waste being collected. Refuse is tipped in Gloucester and Bishops Cleeve. Garden and food waste is taken to Bishops Cleeve. Kerbside recycling is taken back to the depot in Cheltenham.

What other safety issues do you face?

Tewkesbury Borough Council has a duty of care to any contractor it employs to deliver services on its behalf.  In the event of an accident, the council, as well as its contractor could be found liable.  The council and Ubico work together to ensure its operations put health and safety considerations to the forefront.

When laden collection vehicles can weigh 25 tonnes and as such stopping distances are much greater than that of a car, even in normal working conditions.  Losing control of such a large vehicle could cause considerable damage to property, other road users (including parked cars) or seriously injure - or kill - pedestrians.

At times on the collection route, vehicles are required to reverse out of areas or use turning circles.  Again we need to be confident that all operations on the route can be performed safely.

As well as safety issues relating to the condition of the roads, the council and its contractor have to consider the safety of the collection crews given that loaders will be on the ground for much of the day as they collect residents’ waste.  Hazards such as slips (due to icy conditions underfoot) and falls (due to kerbsides being hidden by snow for example) are a real concern.

I have seen similar vehicles on the road? How can they operate when the council’s collection vehicles cannot?

Heavy goods and haulage style vehicles may be on the road but it is important to remember that they may have come from out of the district and may only be travelling only on gritted main roads and between two depots.  Our vehicles do travel on the main roads but will predominantly be collecting waste and recycling from smaller side roads which may still yet to be clear of snow and ice; waste collection vehicles need to stop and start frequently and must do so safely.

What happens if my collection is missed?

If we have had to cancel services because of bad weather or dangerous road conditions we will try our upmost to return to collect your waste either later in the week by working longer days than normal and on Saturdays.

Once services are resumed, we will concentrate on making the collections that are scheduled for that day.  However, if the crews have time at the end of each day - and as long as road conditions allow - they will visit households which have missed a food waste, refuse or recycling collection earlier in the week.

Therefore, please leave your caddy, refuse and recycling bins out for seven days following your missed collection.  If we are unable to return after this time, please take your containers in and put it out on your next scheduled collection.

Please note that when bad weather has disrupted services we will cancel the garden waste service and use the vehicles to carry out the catch up collections for refuse and recycling services.

Why don’t you have spare vehicles?

The council’s contractor has adequate vehicles to cover day-to-day operations in the event of a breakdown or similar. However, it is not financially viable to have a full fleet of spare vehicles stationed at the depot to cover events such as extra collections in the event of snow.

Why do you cancel the garden waste service during periods of snow?

We do understand that residents pay for the collection of their garden waste and expect a high level of service in return. Nonetheless, we believe that most would agree that priority should be given to the collection of refuse in such circumstances.

In the event of snow, it is likely that the need to offer a garden waste collection at this time will be small.

What can I do with my outstanding waste and recycling if it has not been collected?

Refuse and recycling may be taken to the local Household Recycling Centres at Wingmoor, Bishops Cleeve or Hempsted, Gloucester. These sites are normally open between 9.00am-6.15pm every day (except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day) but please check that the sites are open first by calling 0845 602 9344.

Please only visit these sites once you believe it is safe to do so.

Will you collect excess refuse and recycling once services return to normal?


Excess refuse will be collected if put out beside your green refuse wheeled bin on your first scheduled collection following any disruption.

If you have more dry recycling than normal, please present this at the kerbside in a suitably sturdy box next to your blue recycling wheeled bin.

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