Recycling collections in the linked South Isles are to be cancelled next week to allow Council crews to be diverted to grass cutting duties in the area’s kirkyards.
Kirkyard grass cutting is currently managed by community councils but with South Ronaldsay and Burray Community Council having been, despite repeated efforts, unable to secure an affordable contractor at this point in time for the four kirkyards in their area, the Council will be stepping in to plug the gap.
However, due to limited staff resource, this means that the fortnightly recycling collection will not take place on Tuesday and Wednesday next week - with residents required to store their recyclates for another two weeks or bring them to their local recycling centre in the Hope or at Bossack.
Darren Richardson is the Council's Head of Infrastructure and Strategic Projects. He said: "Despite their best efforts no contractor has yet been commissioned by the Community Council - the kirkyards have not been cut yet this year and this is causing upset within the community, who clearly see this as a priority.
"Across Orkney, our Community Councils - except for Kirkwall and Stromness - manage the tendering process with the costs then passed on to the Council. This budget is certainly under significant pressure, but I'd be clear that it hasn't been reduced as part of this year's budget savings.
"As a cross-Council team we've looked at all the options available to us and factored in the views of the community to this. Clearly the communities value the maintenance of the kirkyards. We've therefore taken the exceptional decision to postpone recycling activity in order to allow us to prioritise this work, which unfortunately means that residents will miss out on a recycling collection. We hope communities understand why this is happening."
Recyclates can be taken to the nearest recycling centre or stored for a further two weeks. If householders can't store any more recyclates in their green bins, they can still put the additional materials out for the next collection but these need to be separated and clearly identifiable - i.e. not mixed together and not in black bags.