A north-east local authority has commended staff in its roads, landscape and waste services department for their adaptability during the coronavirus pandemic.
Aberdeenshire Council has recognised staff in the department who were redeployed and retrained to work in a variety of different roles during lockdown restrictions.
As government guidance in respect of the pandemic came into effect, the council redeployed staff in its roads, landscape and waste services to focus efforts on maintaining core services while some employees had to shield or stay off work through illness.
Redeployment has meant some staff have had to work longer hours and commute to new locations and undertake new training.
Some activities, such as grass-cutting and road repair were suspended to enable vital services like household refuse collections and also burial services to continue.
These services are now beginning to resume.
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, chairman 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.”