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Call to reopen recycling centres in Hampshire with social distancing measures in place

3 minute read
Call to reopen recycling centres in Hampshire with social distancing measures in place

Published by the Eagle Radio News Team at 6:00am 26th April 2020.

County bosses have been urged to reopen recycling centres in Hampshire.

Cllr Keith House, Liberal Democrats leader at Hampshire County Council, is calling on the authority to re-open Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) as soon as possible where it is safe to do so.

It comes as last week the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) said it was encouraging councils to keep their HWRCs open to ensure that bulky waste can continue to be disposed of, "but only if social distancing guidelines can be adhered to on site".

Cllr House, leader of the opposition at the county council, claims that the authority said it would be too difficult to re-open recycling centres and that it would take the council’s private sector waste operator two further weeks to re-open the facilities:

"Government advice is that Household Waste Recycling Centres should be open where possible, with appropriate safety measures in place. 

"That must make sense with the number of bonfires that are now causing real health risks to people with respiratory conditions, often associated with Covid-19.

"Hampshire County Council is refusing to act on this advice.

"So we have a government department, DEFRA, saying one thing, then the county saying the opposite.

"It’s a mess, and no wonder residents are confused.

"The county council should be following the Government’s advice that those recycling centre that can safely open, be re-opened."

The news follows calls for recycling centres across the country to re-open after a reported increase in fly-tipping.

The county council said it is working with its waste contractor and neighbouring authorities on plans as to how recycling centres could re-open safely. 

Cllr Rob Humby, executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: 

"Should there come a point when the Government either amends the regulations and visiting an HWRC is added to the list of essential journeys, or travel restrictions are eased, we will work with our neighbouring local authorities to try establish a common approach for the safe re-opening of sites as far as practicably possible. 

"This will reflect any national standards or guidance set by the Government.

"We are currently working with our contractor on plans on how this might be done in a way that would ensure social distancing and the health, safety and security of site staff and residents could be maintained."