Parks, streets and open spaces around Fife are being given a timely tidy-up after Fife Council restarted street cleaning, grass cutting and gardening services for vulnerable people.
The local authority has been on an emergency footing for several weeks now due to lockdown but workers are returning to tackle essential maintenance in the region’s green areas.
Staffing shortages have been a major problem across the organisation, with 4,289 recorded instances of public health absence or Covid-19-related leave across the council at one point earlier this week.
However, available staff have been drafted in, some from other roles, to bolster the grass cutting and street cleaning operation.
The resumption of street cleaning also includes the clearance of fly-tipping, which is thought to have increased due to the closure of household recycling centres.
The move has been welcomed by Liberal Democrat councillor James Calder.
He said: “While some residents have noticed the grass has grown longer I am sure most people will understand why this had to stop under the circumstances.
“It is good news that the garden care scheme for vulnerable residents is also restarting.
“I also understand the council will ensure that any staff member that needs to self isolate will not need to return to work and will continue to be paid as normal.”
Paper and cardboard bin collections resumed earlier this month and residents are being asked to check their online bin calendar on Sundays for any changes.
However, the council said there was clear guidance from the Scottish Government that recycling centres should remain closed.
Ken Gourlay, Head of Assets, Transportation & Environment said: “We are re-starting a number of services to help keep Fife clean and combat potential environmental health issues.
“These include grass cutting in places to make sure some public areas don’t become over-run so that they can’t be recovered.
“Also street cleaning and fly-tipping clearing which are, unfortunately, essential to tackle rubbish building up in some areas due to the irresponsible – and illegal – behaviour of a minority of the public.
“I know people are keen to see recycling centres open, however we are following clear advice from the Scottish Government in keeping these closed, and the position is the same across other council areas.
“We are also re-starting the garden care scheme for vulnerable tenants who can’t manage their own gardening. Again, this is to make sure their property doesn’t become too overgrown.
“All the tasks have been risk assessed and arrangements are in place to make sure staff can maintain appropriate social distancing at work.
“We also have hand sanitisers and appropriate personal protective equipment available for everyone who needs it.
“Managers have briefed all staff involved in these roles and made it clear how important it is to stick to the Government and health guidelines.”
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