STEPS are being taken to prevent the nationwide lorry driver shortage impacting bin collections, Colchester Council has said.

The council says it is being “proactive” in response to the issue which has caused delivery crises across the country in recent weeks.

Instead of facing a shortfall of HGV drivers, the authority is bringing in a new training programme to upskill existing staff.

Initially, three employees will be given the opportunity to undertake an HGV driving qualification, giving the waste team extra flexibility and protection from driver shortages.

With at least 18 councils across the UK experiencing delays to their rubbish collections, Colchester Council says it can be “proud” it’s continuing to deliver a “high-quality” waste service.

Read more: Our 'First Day of School' supplement is out today - here are the schools which have taken part

Simon Crow, Colchester Council portfolio holder for environment and sustainability, said: “Our waste service cannot operate without HGV drivers; they are an integral part of our logistical workforce and without them we could not collect Colchester’s recycling and rubbish.

“We have worked hard over the past year to put this new training programme in place, which means we are in a much stronger position to protect this vital frontline service.

“I’m a huge believer in employers creating and promoting opportunities for employees to advance and progress in their careers, so I couldn’t be more proud to see our highly valued team members undertaking their HGV qualifications.”

Sue Lissimore, Colchester Council portfolio holder for resources, added: “Investing in our upskilling training programme is the most effective way of making sure our future workforce needs are met.”