SHDC News Release – Garden Waste Suspension to Continue in South Hams

A News Release from SHDC Communications and Media Team

Garden waste suspension to continue in South Hams

17 September 2021

South Hams District Council and its contractor FCC Environment have made the reluctant decision to keep the suspension of all garden waste collections in place and say residents will be notified when they can start using their brown bins again.

At a meeting of the South Hams Executive yesterday, Councillors received an update on the waste and recycling situation in South Hams and have reluctantly agreed to keep the suspension of garden waste in place.  The Executive will review the situation when they meet again on 14 October.

A lack of drivers meant that in August the Council and FCC Environment made the tough decision to prioritise vital collections of general waste, clinical waste, recycling and refuse collections at the expense of garden waste collections.

At the request of the Council, FCC Environment has taken several steps to try and alleviate the situation. On a local level they have increased pay to retain their current drivers and at a national level they have launched a campaign to try and recruit more drivers.

However, with the national picture not improving, the decision has been made to keep focusing resources on essential waste and recycling collections and continue the suspension of garden waste collection in the South Hams.

Cllr Keith Baldry, South Hams Executive Member for the Environment, said: “As a Council, we were hoping that the nationwide situation on drivers may have shown signs of improvement, but in reality the situation is not getting better. When we made the original decision to suspend garden waste collections, we were left little choice to do so – and we still have no choice now but to keep the suspension in place.

“We realise that it is frustrating for our residents, but we must do all we can to keep the collections of general waste, clinical waste and recycling in place as best we can. We’re sorry to everyone for the inconvenience and hope you understand that this situation is one playing out across the country, not just here in the South Hams.

“We will let you know when you can start using your brown bins again, and there is some advice below on what you can do with your garden waste until then.”

According to Government figures, the driver shortage is reported to have increased over the last five years from 45,000 drivers in 2016 to 76,000 today.  A recent Road Haulage Association (RHA) survey put the estimated shortfall at more than 100,000, with the warning that it will take 18 months to train enough drivers to address the problem, even if there are enough candidates to take the roles.

Commenting, FCC Environment Operations Director Steve Longdon said: “All our staff have worked tirelessly throughout the Covid-19 pandemic to maintain our services and ensure household waste continued to be collected but, as we return to normality, the sector is facing new challenges.

“LGV 1 and 2 drivers are essential for the waste and recycling sector, and we are committed to doing everything we can to fill our driver vacancies to continue to play our part in protecting public health and the environment, as well as the UK’s green economic recovery.”

FCC Environment was one of the signatories on an open letter that the Environmental Services Association (ESA) has sent to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel.

In the letter which represents local authority waste companies and recycling businesses, the ESA says that the shortage of drivers could hinder the sector’s ability to deliver upon the government’s resource-efficiency and environmental ambitions in the “longer term”.  The letter goes on to say that immediate relief is “urgently” needed for “this acute situation”.

FCC Environment is currently running a campaign to attract more trained LGV 1 and 2 drivers to support domestic waste collection crews and household waste recycling in South Hams. If you are interested in joining the team follow the link below to find out more:

The Council and FCC Environment will continue to review the situation, as the national driver shortage crisis develops. In the meantime, residents are being asked not to put garden waste in the grey wheelie / residual waste bin.

The Council is offering advice on what residents can do with their garden waste:


Recycle centres: All three recycling centres located in South Hams, operated by Devon County Council, take garden waste. Full details, including opening hours:

Please do not burn your garden waste.  The Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service firmly advises against having bonfires:
This is because of the risks of fires spreading, the likely nuisance for neighbours and the potential diversion of emergency services.

Check out their downloadable bonfire leaflet: 


Reinstatement of road closure

It seems that, despite a notice from Devon County that the closure of the road from East Portlemouth to Rickham (to the south west of the Church) was to be postponed, work started there today — Thursday 9th September 2021. It is anticipated that it will finish by the end of tomorrow (Friday 10th). The short section of road is closed to all traffic while the work takes place; the alternate route is via Rickham cross (see below).

Map of roads closed and alternative route

Change of date for the Harvest Service

The date of the Annual Harvest Service in East Portlemouth Parish Church has had to be changed; from 26th September to 3rd October. It will be at the same time as previously published, starting at 3pm

We are hoping that we will be able to hold the traditional auction of foods and produce in the village hall after the service.

Postponement of Road Closure

We have received notice from Devon County Council that the road closure expected at the south-western end of the churchyard, due to take place from 7th to 10th September 2021, has been postponed due to issues on a previous site.

A new closure notice is now expected to be issued for 10th to 14th September 2021.

Any queries should be directed to:

Devon Highways
Devon County Council
County Hall
Tel: 0345 155 1004

Notice of Road Closure (07/09/21 – 10/09/21)

Notice of Road Closure in the Parish

On 17 August 2021, the Parish Council received a copy of a notification of another road closure in East Portlemouth. This one lasting from Tuesday 07 September 2021 until Friday 10 September 2021 (both dates being inclusive) for the purpose of drainage works.

The closure is for a short section of road around the church (see the small red section in the diagram below). The alternative route is via TREETOPS TO RICKHAM CROSS, EAST PORTLEMOUTH AND VICE VERSA


SHDC announce suspension of garden waste collection

On 16th August, SHDC issued a press release announcing that FCC Environment, the contractors now responsible for collecting waste and recycling in the South Hams, had asked to suspend the collection of garden waste from that date. The initial suspension is for at least four weeks.

This has been blamed on a shortage of drivers and to enable the redeployment of those drivers that are available to the collection of general waste and recycling.

Householders are asked not to put garden waste into the general waste bin, nor to burn it on bonfires. The suggestions given are to home compost it or take it to one of the three recycling centres.

Further details of the suspension, and both of the suggested methods of disposal of garden waste, are available from the South Hams District Council website at

Notice of Road Closure (12/08/21 – 18/08/21)

Notice of Road Closure in the Parish

On 12 August 2021, the Parish Council received notification of a road closure in East Portlemouth lasting from Thursday 12 August 2021 until Wednesday 18 August 2021 (both dates being inclusive).

The closure is from East Portlemouth Corner to Goodshelter Cross.


URGENT INFORMATION about Parking Problems

There is very little parking in East Portlemouth this summer. 

We strongly recommend that visitors to our golden sandy beaches drive to Salcombe to park and then come over to us by ferry.

The National Trust car park at Mill Bay has fewer spaces than last year. It is only accessible via a one mile long, narrow, no-through lane with very few passing places. It is usually full by 10.30am during the school holidays. Drivers have been experiencing long delays when approaching or leaving the area. Please do not park in the turning space at Mill Bay as this is reserved for emergency vehicles. 

The nearby grass car park at Port Waterhouse has only limited parking available this year.

Please do not park in the passing places as that blocks all the traffic.


New Web Service goes live

This new web service went live to the public on the afternoon of 21st July 2021!

It is based on information from our old server, but now has a more modern look and will be easier to maintain, update and refresh.

New defibrillator in East Portlemouth

A second AED (Automated External Defibrillator) in the village was installed on the wall of the toilets on the bottom road (near the Venus Café at the bottom of the Ferry Steps) on 9th July 2021. So, we now have two in East Portlemouth, one in the Village Shelter at the top of the Ferry Steps and a matching one at the bottom.

A defibrillator is a device which gives a high energy shock to the heart of someone who is in cardiac arrest. After calling 999 and starting CPR it is the third way to give someone the best chance of survival.

While training in their use is very helpful, this model of “defib” is designed to be used by someone without any experience. It will guide the user in the steps that might be needed to help someone with a suspected heart problem – once taken from the cabinet it will talk to you and give clear instructions explaining what to do next! So, anyone can use it in an emergency. It will tell you how to attach the pads, then it will monitor the heart rhythm. It will only deliver a shock if it’s needed, and you can’t deliver a shock accidentally. It will continue to monitor the person’s heart and will keep details which can later be used by the emergency services.

We are hoping to organise refresher sessions and full CPR (Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation) and Defibrillator training sessions, for all those interested, in the near future.