RUBBISH collections in the New Forest could be cut should plans be approved by chiefs amid the national shortage of HGV drivers.

New Forest District Council are to discuss the slashing of waste collections at a cabinet meeting next week.

The proposals detail plans for two contingencies that will cut the collections.

The most dramatic of the two will see the cancellation of collecting garden waste, kerbside glass, bulky waste and cease the delivery of black and clear sacks until at least January 2022. The weekly collection of black and clear sacks would continue.

The second contingency will see garden waste reduced to four-weekly collection and the cancellation of kerbside glass and bulky waste until at least January 2022.

Weekly black and clear sacks would be collected and delivered.

In the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, garden waste collections were cancelled for one month, so that collections of clear and black sacks could be prioritised in a time of increasing staff absence with symptoms of Covid-19.

However, through the remaining Covid-19 lockdowns, all regular kerbside collections were maintained by frontline staff, redeploying staff from street scene and other frontline services where needed.

There are a number of reasons stated as to why the collections need to be cut including the national shortage of HGV drivers.

Another reason is a higher than average staff turnover resulting in a higher than usual level of vacancies as well as a higher than average sickness absence.

The document states that Covid-19 isolations continue to cause absences and that there is a continued increase in tonnage of residual waste and recycling collected.

It is said that the current staffing situation "creates very difficult working conditions for frontline staff".

The document reads: "The council must consider how to safeguard frontline services, with the priority sack collection service protected.

"In order to do so, the contingency plans presented here require approval."

It's said that the postponement of waste collection could potentially create some crime implications such as future fly tipping activities.

It's also mentioned that the suspension of collections could have an negative affect on the environment with reduced recycling rates.