Full of praise for refuse workers

The chair of a residents' group has thanked Biddulph's refuse collectors for “religiously” continuing their rounds during lockdown.
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council was also praised for maintaining bin collection services when other authorities, including Stafford borough council, had suspended garden waste collections so bin crews could focus on ensuring household rubbish and recycling were dealt with.
Bob Hart, chair of Biddulph Valley North Community Association, said this week: “I would like to thank the bin workers. In surrounding areas, garden waste collections were suspended but here in the Moorlands it's kept going.
“We are very grateful. The weather has been warm and sunny for most of the lockdown, which could attract more flies and maggots to the bins if they had not been emptied.
“And people have been doing so much gardening during the good weather and filling the waste bins up - gardens have never look so good! But the bin workers have stuck at it and have been around religiously for each collection.”
Mr Hart praised Staffordshire Moorlands District Council in general, adding: “Everyone has rightly been clapping for the NHS and care workers each Thursday but there are a lot of other people out there as well, from pharmacists to shop workers and supermarket staff. Without them all I think we would have all folded.”
His praise for bin collection workers was repeated by Biddulph North Coun Andrew Hart who said: “Some places have only had a 60%-70% collection rate during the lockdown. Staffordshire Moorlands District Council has been coping very well and a lot of services have carried on continuously. Those workers on the bin wagons have done a phenomenal job and have maintained a 100% bin collection service.
“You can look at your watch at around 9.30am on collection days in this part of Biddulph knowing that's when your bins will be emptied.”
The district council said it “reacted quickly to offer reassurance and to make sure normal service continued” to operate during the lockdown, within guidelines, alongside the additional work generated by the response to covid-19.
Figures up to early May showed that 333,600 waste collections were carried out - and 33% more dry recycling was collected.
Coun Sybil Ralphs, leader of the council, said: “For our part, the council remains very much here to offer our support. We have been able to quickly and effectively respond to the challenges raised by the coronavirus while maintaining our usual services in far from usual circumstances.
“And, while we are here to serve our communities, it is gratifying to hear that this is very much appreciated by our residents and businesses - so many households have been showing their appreciation for our waste collection crews with drawings and messages of thanks.”
Mr Hart did have concerns that lockdown was being eased too quickly and referring to scenes of packed beaches around the UK, feared people were “roaming about too aimlessly”.
“Me and my wife Glenys still go out most mornings for a walk,” he said. “It's been a godsend and with the weather being so good otherwise I'm sure we would have been going stir crazy like a lot of other residents.
“But with the lockdown easing, it's quite frightening at the moment. We are carrying on as if nothing has changed.”
Mr and Mrs Hart had flown out to Florida on 10th March to see their daughter, Louise Walker, who lives in Clearwater with husband Rob but had to fly home early as countries started to close down when the pandemic hit.
Mr Hart said: “We had planned to be out there for just over three weeks and Florida started its lockdown while we were there. We got an email from Virgin saying the last flight home would be on 20th March to Gatwick instead of Manchester where we should have flown to and had to get a lift home from there.”
He reminded residents that Biddulph Valley North Community Association plans to resume its meetings in October, beginning with the association's postponed annual meeting.