Winter weather advice

In the event of severe winter weather, we promise to make every effort to keep our bin collection rounds to schedule. 

Decisions to delay the service are never taken lightly. We must consider the safety of our staff, pedestrians and other road users. Bin lorries can weigh up to 26 tonnes, making them hazardous to drive in icy conditions, and especially so on hills and narrow streets. Moving the bins themselves over snow and ice can also be dangerous and lead to falls. Factors such as time of day, duration of snow fall, temperature, and whether the roads have been gritted, can all delay a collection service.

Stay up to date

We'll let you know if there's any disruption to the service by posting updates on this website and on our Facebook and X social media accounts.

You can also choose to receive text message updates on your mobile phone. To sign up, send a text to 60777 with the message “DBC waste your house number / your postcode” (for example, DBC waste 80 HP4 2DR). Your initial text will be charged at your standard network rate, but receiving the text alerts is free.

Frequently asked questions

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What can I do with my waste?

What is being done?

  • Why haven't my bins been collected?

    We take the health and safety of the public and our own staff very seriously. Our large refuse lorries can weigh up to 26 tonnes. Small side roads, which are not routinely cleared of snow, can become very icy. It would be dangerous for our refuse lorries to drive down these roads.

    Footpaths can also remain treacherous even when main roads have been cleared. Our staff need to move large refuse and recycling wheeled bins, and may be unable to stop themselves falling if they slipped. This could potentially cause serious injury.

  • How do you decide when it’s safe to collect?

    We regularly review road conditions and take advice from both the police and Met Office. We resume collections as soon as we can.

  • Why can’t you use snow chains on collection vehicles?

    Snow chains are only effective on roads where the ice and snow is thick enough. Driving a vehicle fitted with snow chains on roads without a significant cover of ice and snow – for example, roads that have been cleared or treated – could affect the braking and handling of the vehicle. Taking the chains on and off whenever the vehicles move from snow-covered roads to cleared roads is not practical.

  • Can smaller vans be used in areas where the trucks can’t be used?

    We have one fleet of vehicles for refuse and recycling collections. These heavy goods vehicles have the equipment to lift and empty bins. Smaller vehicles wouldn’t have the necessary equipment to carry out collections.

  • Can collection crews be given crampons for their boots to improve grip?

    Our crews have been issued with special studs that fit over their boots. This will assist in preventing unnecessary personal accidents. However, roads still need to be free of snow and ice for our vehicles to access them.

  • Are you going to grit the roads?

    Road gritting is the responsibility of Hertfordshire County Council.

    However, our Clean Safe and Green teams will be clearing snow and gritting pavements where possible across the borough.

  • Do your staff get time off when vehicles can’t go out on collections?

    No. When it’s too dangerous for waste collection vehicles to go out on the roads, we redeploy staff to clear areas of snow and ice. During periods of bad weather, staff work hard to get services back to normal.

  • I saw a refuse truck drive past my house – why didn’t it collect my waste?

    The truck may have been full, and needed emptying before it could collect any more waste. Recycling is taken to Cupid Green Depot in Hemel Hempstead, while general waste from the grey bins is taken to Waterdale Transfer Station, near Watford. The truck will usually continue on its rounds afterwards, starting from its last collection point.

    It may also be that this vehicle was not scheduled to collect waste from your house. We have a number of vehicles working in the same area at any given time, so another truck should arrive to collect your waste shortly.

    If there is a backlog of waste awaiting collection, due to adverse weather, it takes longer for the vehicles to get around, and they also fill up more quickly. Please be patient while our crews catch up.

  • Will you be doing extra collections to catch up once the weather improves?

    When it’s safe to do so, we’ll resume collections in your area. We’ll do all we can to get collections back on track as quickly as possible.

  • Can you use agency staff to get collections back to normal faster?

    Agency staff are sometimes used when our service experiences disruption or delays, but it is difficult to source additional staff that are fully trained and have local knowledge of the rounds. We understand the effect of this disruption, and we work hard to get services back to normal.

  • How long will it take for collections to return to normal?

    It depends on how severe the weather is, and how long it lasts. We’ll be posting updates on this website, and our  Facebook and X (formerly Twitter) accounts.

    You can also sign up for text message updates on your mobile phone by sending a text to 60777 with the message “DBC waste your house number your postcode” (for example, DBC waste 80 HP4 2DR).

  • Can I claim a Council Tax refund for non-collections?

    Although collections may not have been made on a scheduled day, we still have to clear the backlog when weather conditions improve, so we will not refund Council Tax.

    Although we collect Council Tax, we only keep 11p of every £1 to pay for all of our services. The rest goes to Hertfordshire County Council and the Police and Crime Commissioner. More information about your Council Tax.

Page Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 January 2024 at 12:56 PM