Britons warned not to rush to the dumps as more reopen today

The tipping point! More local dumps reopen across England today… but officials are forced to tell locked-down Britons to stay away over fears of giant queues

  • Local government groups urge Britons not to rush to dumps when they reopen
  • It comes after queues of traffic formed outside tips in areas such as Manchester 
  • Most waste centres were closed last month after the outbreak of coronavirus
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Local government groups are urging Britons not to rush to their nearest dump when it finally reopens because they fear huge queues of traffic forming outside the nation’s tips.

Organisations which represent district and county councils in England fear a huge surge in demand when household waste and recycling centre finally reopen.

Many were closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, with officials fearing they could not be operated within the boundaries of social distancing rules.

But with many more set to reopen today, groups fear a ‘sudden rush’ could spark long lines of traffic, like those seen in both Greater Manchester and Northumberland after councils were finally given the green light to reopen waste centres.    

One group to raise concern is the District Councils’ Network a cross-party member led network of 187 district councils.

Organisations which represent district and county councils in England fear a huge surge in demand when household waste and recycling centre finally reopen. Pictured: Queues of traffic for Otterspool tip in Liverpool

Many were closed due to the coronavirus outbreak, with officials fearing they could not be operated within the boundaries of social distancing rules. Pictured: Cones are put up near Otterspool tip in Liverpool to try and manage the traffic

More tips are reopening today and groups fear a ‘sudden rush’ could spark long lines of traffic, like this one in Runcorn

Dan Humphreys, from the District Councils Network, said: ‘We appreciate how hard people have been working to keep on top of waste but we would like to stress that it won’t be possible for everyone to suddenly get rid of any rubbish they have built up over recent weeks all in one go.’

The County Councils Network, which represents England’s 37 county councils and county unitary authorities, also echoed the calls. 

Sam Corcoran, the group’s communities and environment spokesman, said: ‘We would encourage residents to only take a trip to their recycling centre if absolutely necessary, reusing or recycling items using kerbside collections wherever possible.’  

Last month, the government since said it wants to see councils reopen tips, with social distancing in place, while residents should only go if their journey is essential.

The District Councils’ Network a cross-party member led network of 187 district councils has warned Britons not to rush to their local tip when it reopens to avoid long queues, such as these in Manchester over the weekend

The County Councils Network, which represents England’s 37 county councils and county unitary authorities, also echoed the calls. Pictured: A driver uses a tip in Manchester

Last month, the government since said it wants to see councils reopen tips, with social distancing in place, while residents should only go if their journey is essential. Pictured: A woman uses a tip in Manchester

Closure of tips and curbs on some waste collections, along with more waste being generated by people embarking on spring clean clear-outs, DIY projects and gardening, has raised concerns over an increase in fly-tipping.

Postcode lottery as to which local tips reopen

Greater Manchester Authority – Opening based on odd and even number plates will begin from May 2.

Hampshire County Council – Vehicle limit, reduced hours but no date yet.

Northumberland County Council – Tips are reopening on Monday 4 May.

Lancashire County Council – Online booking system, unknown when the system will come into force. 

Wirral County Council – One-way systems with traffic stewards, the start date is unknown.

Surrey County Council – Restriction on types of waste when sites reopen.

North Yorkshire County Council – Tips stay closed. 

Devon County Council – Tips closed.  

Derbyshire County Council – Tips open ‘in a few weeks.’ 

Newport County Council –  Landfill site open to commercial businesses.

Cumbria Country Council – All remain closed but situation could change on Monday 4 May. 

Leicestershire County Council – Tips are currently closed until further notice.

Norfolk County Council – There are currently 20 tips listed as closed.

Cambridgeshire County Council – closed until further notice.

Lincolnshire County Council – All recycling centres (tips) are now closed until further notice.

Kent County Council – All the tips are closed until further notice. 

Nottinghamshire County Council – All Nottinghamshire recycling centres  remain closed.  

Oxfordshire County Council – All tips are closed until further notice.

Durham County Council – All tips are currently closed. 

Shropshire County Council – All our household recycling centres are now closed for an indefinite period due to the coronavirus.

Warwickshire County Council – tips and recycling centres are currently closed. 

Wiltshire County Council – All household recycling centres remain closed. 

West Sussex County Council – All Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRS) across West Sussex are closed until further notice.

Worcestershire County Council – Both sites are currently closed.

Suffolk County Council –  Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) are from Monday 23 March until further notice.

Staffordshire County Council – Recycling centres and tips are currently close.

Somerset County Council – the sites are currently closed.

Hertfordshire County Council- All the household waste recycling centres are closed until further notice, including the Easter Bank Holiday.

East Sussex County Council – The household waste recycling sites are closed until further notice.

Essex County Council – The tips are currently closed. The council said they are looking at re-opening them in the future with the required social distancing.

Southampton City Council – The household waste and recycling centre is closed. The council is aiming to reopen on the week commencing May 11.

Portsmouth City Council – The tip is closed until further notice.

Brighton and Hove City Council – The two household waste centres are temporarily closed.  No details on when they may reopen. 

Liverpool City Council – The two household waste centres are reopening on May 4.

Birmingham City Council –  Household waste centres are currently closed until further notice.

Newcastle City Council – Household waste centres will reopen on May 11. 

Greater Manchester is one of the areas where tips have reopened, with a system alternating the days vehicles are allowed to attend depending on whether their car number plate ends in an even or odd number.

But on Saturday, when tips were reopened in both Greater Manchester and Nothumberland, there were long queues from 7.30am, half an hour before opening time.

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Combined Authority said that the possibility of introducing a booking system was explored, but to implement it at short notice for 2.5 million residents would have been challenging.

They instead opted for the odd and even number plate system. 

Prior to the reopening Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC on Friday that refuse centres could be opened in a ‘staged’ manner.

‘Obviously don’t abuse it, but we know that there’s lots of people with rubbish and recycling and boxes from all those deliveries people are getting piling up in their homes, and it’s right that we manage that and make people’s lives a bit more bearable by getting that out of the house.’

He said that, due to large demand, many councils may opt to reopen their sites in a ‘staged’ manner, adding that this is ‘sensible’ and the ‘right thing to do’.

‘The longer we delay it, the longer those queues are going to be when the waste sites reopen,’ he added.

The re-opening comes as new analysis revealed fly-tipping has increased by 300 per cent during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Researchers from the Universities of Southampton and Portsmouth said the increase in illegal waste dumping has followed the closure of almost all tips.

While at the same time the number of DIY projects has increased by householders stuck at home.

The problem has also been worsened with nearly half of all local authority recycling services in the country having been stopped or reduced, and charity shops being closed and not able to take unwanted goods.

A fly-tipping dumping ground in Wales has so much rubbish it can be seen from space.

Hundreds of car tyres, piles of clothes, suitcases and doors have been scattered across the disused road off the M4 in Newport, South Wales.

Newport’s landfill site is currently only open to commercial businesses.  

The researchers also highlight that increased food waste is expected from the £1.9 billion worth of groceries stockpiled by panic-buyers at the start of the crisis.

And the increase in home deliveries is leading to a shortage of cardboard as many households are unable to recycle.

The researchers also point out that the environmental impact of the closures may be worsened with valuable resources having to be extracted that would normally have come from recyclables that have now ended up in landfill.

Professor Ian Williams, of the School of Engineering at the University of Southampton, said: ‘This pandemic has been a wake-up call to governments and the waste sector to ensure that supply chains and markets for recyclates are diverse and resilient.

‘Our current waste management system will need to evolve to be resilient to the impacts of these rare, extreme, global events to create a successful circular economy.’

The closure of a majority of tips due to the coronavirus lockdown and social distancing guidelines has resulted in a spate of fly-tipping incidents in recent weeks.

Not only is fly-tipping illegal but it also means Britons are taking on non-essential travel to dump their rubbish, breaking Government orders to remain inside, risking further spread of the virus.  

Sarah Lee of the Countryside Alliance said: ‘The images of fly tipping, though horrendous, are an all too familiar sight.

‘It shouldn’t need saying that driving to dump rubbish is not essential travel.

‘Not only are you committing an offence by littering, but you are also ignoring guidance that has been introduced to stop the spread of this dangerous virus.’

Fly tipping is defined as the illegal dumping of items. Anyone found guilty of doing it could face a £400 fixed penalty notice or an unlimited fine.

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