Ministers urge councils to plan for safe re-opening of recycling centres Image By Monkey Business AdobeStock_25838561

The government has published new guidance on how recycling centres can be safely re-opened during the coronavirus outbreak

Yesterday, the government published guidance for local authorities to help them to re-open their Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) over the coming days and weeks.

Councils are being encouraged to open sites to avoid the build-up of waste in homes and businesses. But only where social distancing can be maintained and the public and staff can be kept safe.

Opening the HWRCs would also reduce the opportunity for fly-tipping. Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

“Maintaining crucial waste services while protecting public health remains a top priority during these unprecedented times, and I commend our councils on the superbly efficient job they are doing in keeping waste collection services running.”

The guidance sets out how local authorities could manage access and the number of people who are able to be on site at any one time.

It also recognises the importance of councils making their own assessments of which centres can be re-opened based on capacity they have and the practicalities of adhering to social distancing requirements.

Under the terms of the lockdown, householders can travel to a centre if the waste in their home presents a risk of injury or a risk to public health or the local environment. But, if possible, waste should continue to be stored safely and disposed of using regular council collections.

When asked if Central Bedfordshire Council was planning to open tidy tips based on this new guidance, its spokesperson said:

“We are keeping tidy tips under constant review and when we can open them safely we will. We’ll keep residents up to date on our social media page, our website and through email alerts.”

Bedford Borough Council did not respond at the time of press.