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Minister thanks waste sector for vital work during Coronavirus lockdown

16th April 2020

Environment Minister and Taunton MP Rebecca Pow has written to thank waste sector workers for their effort and commitment during the Coronavirus lockdown.

Ms Pow, who is the under secretary of state for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), expressed her gratitude in a letter sent to trade associations and organisations, including Viridor.

She wrote: "I want to pay tribute to all of you who are working in such challenging times to protect the environment, local amenity and people’s health – your work is vital. 

"The Government has taken some unprecedented steps; instructing people to stay at home, to protect our NHS and save lives.


"However, there are many key workers, like yourselves, who are crucial to the health of our country.  

"I am writing to thank you for the vital service that you are delivering. To thank you for keeping waste moving.

"Maintaining the rates of black bag rubbish collection, working behind the scenes in recycling centres, treatment plants, energy recovery centres and disposal sites despite all the challenges that coronavirus brings."

The letter, which can be read in full here, acknowledged the various difficulties faced by the waste industry, such as staff absences and working on the frontline while adhereing to social distancing rules.

The Taunton Deane MP praised those involved for rising to the task in a positive and helpful frame of mind.

And Ms Pow stressed that those working in the waste sector have not been forgotten by her and her colleagues in Westminster.

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The letter read: "Some of you have had to take difficult decisions to furlough staff or close down your operations.

"But you have also responded, adapted and maintained an excellent level of service where you have been able which protects public health and is crucial in keeping our society and economy going.

"Workers in the waste sector may not get the headlines that other workers do during this challenging time, but I want you to know that you are not forgotten within Government.

"I am enormously grateful for all you are doing, and will continue to do, and proud of your commitment to the services you provide. Thank you."

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