A cross-selection of individuals from the public and commercial sector of waste management joined SOE and LAPV magazine for a roundtable in June at the Society’s head office.

Editor of LAPV and Future Fleet Forum organiser, Ann Marie Knegt, chaired the session. She was joined by representatives from Biffa, City of London, Kier, London Borough of Hackney, O’Donovan, Ubico and Veolia at the meeting in June to discuss the challenges they are facing in the industry.

Recruiting and retaining new talent is considered one of the most pressing concerns for waste management operators, with respect to both drivers and technicians; nor has the problem been dealt with sufficiently by recent governments.

The group discussed possible solutions: autonomous vehicles could ease the driver shortage; while defined career paths and investment in training can help balance the shortfall of technicians. The group talked about how noise restrictions in cities prevent night-time collection of waste, although it could work in certain areas. Many in the industry are calling for underground collection points to ease the burden on local authorities.

Finding a solution to emission reduction targets was discussed, as the pressure is mounting on the industry to find the least polluting vehicles at the lowest possible price. Many delegates agreed that, because it takes a long time to see actual results, it’s difficult to plan within the restrictive regulatory time frames.

Francis Mercer, Business Development Manager at SOE, said: “Now we have listened to industry, we can go about making firm proposals to addresses its concerns. SOE, as a Professional Engineering Institution, will do all we can to help move this industry forward.

“I would like to thank everyone who came to the event; now, we must work together and deliver on the recommendations of the roundtable group,” said Francis.

For more information on SOE roundtable events, email: francis.mercer@soe.org.uk