Buckinghamshire Council has confirmed the reopening of five of its nine household recycling centres to give residents the chance to dispose of waste that cannot be safely stored at home.
From Wednesday 6 May, the Amersham, Aston Clinton, Buckingham, Beaconsfield and High Wycombe sites will open seven days a week, 9am-6pm - the usual summer opening hours. The other four sites will remain closed for the foreseeable future. To stay within the government's coronavirus guidelines on essential travel, however, it is important that journeys to these sites during lockdown are only made if waste cannot be stored for longer at home without causing risk to health or safety.
The health of residents and staff is always the highest priority, so everyone visiting the reopened sites will be expected to observe the new social distancing measures that have been put in place. This includes traffic management to control the number of visitors at any one time. The Council warns that this could lead to extensive traffic queues building up at site entrances, so it's well worth delaying a visit until things are a bit quieter.
Bill Chapple OBE, Buckinghamshire Council Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, said: "The decision to reopen the recycling centres has been taken after listening to residents' concerns on extra waste accumulation during the lockdown period. We want to ensure that people who have been struggling to manage their waste are able to dispose of it properly.
"However, I must warn visitors who do feel that a trip is essential that their visit will be different from normal due to the measures we are putting in place to protect both visitors and our staff. I would also stress that we are only open for residents of Buckinghamshire and will be asking visitors for identification to prove their address.
"As part of the need to ensure social distancing, we have had to limit the number of visitors on site at any one time, so long queues to access the site are likely. I'd ask people to bear in mind that the five sites that are reopening will be open from 9 am to 6 pm seven days a week, so it isn't necessary to rush there at the first opportunity.
"Staff will be on hand to ensure that the social distancing guidelines are adhered to, therefore we urge all visitors to be patient and leave plenty of time for their visit.
"Fly tipping is a crime. Buckinghamshire Council takes a zero tolerance approach to fly tipping and will prosecute wherever possible. However, there has been some concern amongst residents that the closure of the recycling centres has led some people to either fly tip or hire unlicensed individuals to take away their rubbish. With the reopening of five sites, it means that anyone with accumulated waste that cannot safely be stored can now dispose of it properly."
These are the things to remember when visiting the reopened household recycling centres:
- You should only visit the site if you cannot safely store your waste at home.
- All residents visiting the site will need to observe the social distancing measures now in place. This also means no assistance for unloading can be provided.
- There will be limits on the number of vehicles allowed on site to allow for social distancing. There may be delays accessing the site and possibly queues of waiting vehicles.
- Only one person per vehicle where possible.
- Residents will be asked for their proof of address. Only Buckinghamshire residents will be allowed to use the sites.
- The existing permit system is still in place, but trailers are temporarily banned from sites.
- In line with Public Health England guidance, residents who are vulnerable, or who are showing symptoms which may indicate coronavirus, should not visit household recycling centres.
- We will continue to charge for non-household waste brought to sites.
- Because of the higher staffing levels required to ensure social distancing, we cannot open Aylesbury (Rabans Lane), Chesham, Burnham and Langley sites for the time being. These sites remain closed so please do not visit.