Flying ants and mice are swarming in parts of Folkestone and Dover where garden waste collection services have been canceled indefinitely.

Residents paid extra for garden waste collection.

But for the past fortnight, they’ve been told the service has been suspended, with no date for it to return.

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The councils involved – Folkestone and Hythe District Council and Dover District Council – blamed problems with contractor Veolia caused by a nationwide shortage of heavy truck drivers.

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This in turn is apparently linked to COVID-19 and the so-called ‘pingemia’, where thousands of people are being asked to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace app.

But it comes just weeks after residents of Folkestone and Dover suffered major delays with their waste management services when Veolia changed collection days.

The latest issues have seen residents report swarms of ants and flying mice.

“My six bags are full and I can see them stacked in front of other houses on our street,” Capel-le-Ferne resident Nicky Vines told MyDover.

Garden waste at Capel-le-Ferne between Dover and Folkestone, whose collections have both been canceled indefinitely

“If you report to the board, you get a different answer every time.

“None of them apologized, at all.

“It’s not just garden waste – food waste was no longer collected in the village this week.

“This is a paid service. We’ve heard that some people in Folkestone are getting a refund, but not until the next tax year in April.

“We now pay over £ 200 per month in council tax and an additional £ 50 per year for garden waste collection.”

Nicky added that there seemed to be more mice, while a resident of Capel who didn’t want to be named said the flying ants were “absolutely everywhere”.

Flying ants photographed around bags in Capel-le-Ferne

Their bags had been lying around in the garden for three weeks, they said.

“I ended up taking them to the tip myself,” the person said.

“The man who works there said the yard dumpster normally takes two days to fill, but recently they are doing two dumpsters a day.”

Both councils have advised people to bring yard waste to KCC recycling centers if the need is urgent, or try to turn it into compost if possible.

A statement from the Dover District Council said: “Unfortunately, we have suspended the garden waste service at the request of our contractor Veolia to allow them to prioritize household waste and recycling collections.

“We know it’s disappointing with a lot of people working in the garden at this time of year. We are of course working with Veolia in order to restore collection of garden waste as quickly as possible.

“We appreciate that this is a service you pay extra and will be looking at options such as extending subscriptions or offering a discount on next year’s subscription to keep that going. account.”

A statement from Folkestone and Hythe District Council said: “We apologize to all affected residents and understand the difficulties this suspension can create.

“We are informed by Veolia that the suspension of the garden waste service will allow Veolia teams to prioritize clinical, food, waste and recycling rounds.”

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