ENVIRONMENT officials in Wrexham have limited all non-essential spending as their department looks set to go over budget by £1.2m.

Wrexham Council has imposed restrictions on bulky waste collections and deliveries of new and replacement bins in a bid to claw back more than £300,000.

The authority has put a deficit recovery plan in place to reduce all work on street lighting, grounds maintenance and safety and highways signs.

It also includes measures to tackle additional staff costs approaching £500,000, which has partly been blamed on the department’s reliance on agency workers.

Details of the overspend were revealed in a report by council leader Mark Pritchard (Ind) covering the authority’s expenditure between April and November 2018.

He said: “The department is working on a deficit recovery plan to implement over the next few months which should save approximately £305,000.

“The service is limiting all non-essential orders and works on all service areas including street lighting, safety fencing, highway signage, arboriculture and rights of way.

“An evaluation of spend commitment on the planned programme of works is underway to rationalise scheme of works where appropriate.

“The following areas are also being addressed: cease routine grounds maintenance, with resources redeployed as appropriate to reduce agency demand; reduced frequency of winter garden waste collection, with resources redeployed as appropriate to reduce agency demand; restrict collection days for bulky waste and new and replacement bin deliveries to enable resources to be redeployed as appropriate to reduce agency demand.”

Part of the overspend has been blamed on a further reduction in the department’s Welsh Government grant during 2018/19 of £256,000.

There is also an expected shortfall in car parking income totalling £234,000 after delays to plans to revoke free parking for disabled blue badge holders and introduce charges for councillors.

At a previous meeting, the council’s environment service manager told a meeting that a high turnover of staff and the growing amount of recycling being carried out were contributing to the problem.

Speaking in October, Darren Williams said: “The staffing issues that we have go back a couple of years to when we introduced and changed our recycling service from our kerbside sort to having separate waste streams.

“Recycling vehicles went up from 13 and 19 and that’s why we’ve seen a reflective increase in staffing demands.

“At the same time budgets were cut and we are where we are today.

“In environment we do have a relatively large staff force and relatively high turnover.

“We’re trying to reduce our agency pressure.”

The latest figures will be discussed by members of the authority’s customers, performance, resources and governance scrutiny committee at a meeting on Wednesday.