Aberdeenshire Council recognises positive effort by Roads, Landscape and Waste Services staff during Covid-19 emergency

As the Scottish Government continues to ease Covid-19 regulations for local authorities, Aberdeenshire Council has commended members of staff within its Roads, Landscape and Waste Services (RLWS) who were redeployed and retrained in a variety of different roles while restrictions were in place.

Following government guidance during the first stages of the pandemic, the council redeployed RLWS staff to focus its efforts on core services as a number of staff members were either shielding or remained off work through illness.

Redeployment has required staff to work longer hours, commute to new locations and undergo training in unfamiliar departments.

As a result of the redeployment, some activities such as grass-cutting and road repairs – which are now beginning to resume – were suspended.

That enabled, for example, staff from Roads and Landscape Services to support their colleagues in Waste Services to undertake vital household refuse collections and to provide support at the council’s Household Recycling Centres.

Many staff have also played an important role in ensuring the council’s Burial Services continued to proceed with professionalism and dignity despite a rise in funerals across Aberdeenshire.

Philip McKay, Heads of Roads, Landscape and Waste Services, said: “Everyone has felt the impact of Covid-19 in Aberdeenshire and our communities have been very supportive of our staff who have continued to provide a strong level of service during these difficult times.

“The safety of our colleagues and the public has always been at the forefront of our planning, and careful consideration has been given to redesigning working practices to comply with the current guidance, particularly around physical distancing.

“Our staff - across a number of services - have demonstrated tremendous resilience in retraining and relocating to undertake new tasks at a very short notice. Whether it has been ensuring our kerbside waste collections continued on time or supporting our burial teams, their efforts are hugely appreciated, and I would take this opportunity to thank each and every one of them for their dedication.

“As staff begin to return to their own services, I would urge everyone to continue offering their support to our teams as they begin to resume their regular services over the weeks and months to come.”

Councillor Peter Argyle, chair of Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “This has been a difficult time for everyone, and our thoughts are with members of staff who remain at home shielding. I would like to thank the Roads, Landscape and Waste Services staff who have worked so diligently – your efforts have not been overlooked.

“These staff have demonstrated incredible teamwork and dedication under difficult circumstances, which is a testament to their resilience and personal character. As a local authority, we appreciate and value the long hours and training they have undergone to ensure our key services continued to run smoothly during lockdown.

“We now look forward to welcoming back those members of staff who have been shielding in due course.”