Services such as waste collection, burials, winter maintenance and emergency road repairs have all continued throughout the Covid pandemic despite the challenges being faced at the current time.
Members of staff from Roads, Landscape and Waste Services (RLWS) continue to be redeployed and retrained in a variety of different roles to support some of these core activities including household waste collection, household recycling centres, burials and safety inspections.
Most recently they have been tasked with keeping roads and footways clear of snow across the region.
Cllr Peter Argyle, chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee, said: “Each and every one of our staff has demonstrated outstanding levels of teamwork and dedication under difficult circumstances both as a result of the ongoing pandemic and more recently the winter weather and subsequent flooding and that is testament to their resilience and personal character.
“Since the pandemic was declared, teams across Roads, Landscape and Waste Services have demonstrated tremendous resilience in terms of retraining and relocating to undertake new tasks and their efforts continue to be hugely appreciated by everyone at Aberdeenshire Council ”
In total, around 210 Roads and Landscapes staff have been retrained to assist with waste collection and disposal as and when required, and in an average week around 25 staff will be called upon and redeployed to assist their Waste colleagues.
For burials, 89 Roads staff have also received training to support the Landscape Services colleagues along with 47 members of the team who have been trained in burial lair identification and setting out.
Cllr Argyle continued: “The response by our frontline crews during the recent heavy snowfall was nothing short of magnificent. Our snowplough and gritter drivers worked long shifts morning, noon and night to keep our roads network open – ably-supported by our Fleet Services who kept our vehicles operational. Staff were redeployed to operate every snow-clearing blade we had at our disposal to clear our footways, ensure safe access for those attending Covid vaccination centres and attempt to keep our towns and villages accessible in the face of almost continual snowfall.”
Head of Roads, Landscape and Waste Services, Philip McKay, said: “The pandemic has impacted on every aspect of the Roads, Landscape and Waste Service. Changes in operating practices have been necessary to ensure that key activities could continue. Colleagues across the service have risen to the challenge of each and every one of these changes and for that I thank them all.
“On the whole, our communities have demonstrated understanding and patience with us. That is very much-appreciated and I would like to assure everyone that we are doing all we can to deliver as much as we can within the current restrictions.
“Finally, I would like to thank everyone - no matter their role - in the response to the recent weather events. The period of snow we experienced is not normal and perhaps the worst for many a year. Colleagues, our contractors and, of course, our communities all worked extremely hard to get roads and pavement open again. It was a real testament to that partnership approach.”