Household waste and recycling centres (HWRCs) will reopen in an “organised” way over the coming weeks, according to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday (28 April), Mr Jenrick stated: “Today I can announce that I am asking councils to plan the organised opening of household waste collection sites. I expect this to happen over the coming weeks, and I will be publishing amended guidance shortly.”
Mr Jenrick praised the “fantastic job” done by waste workers in keeping the vast majority of waste and recycling collections going throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
The news comes as the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government yesterday (28 April) confirmed individual funding allocations for councils in England.
The £1.6 billion funding means councils in England will be provided a total of over £3.2 billion to deal with the immediate impacts of coronavirus.
During the pandemic, councils are playing a crucial role and this extra funding sets out to help them to continue to deliver frontline services.
Mr Jenrick’s statement comes as an increase fly-tipping – thought to be due to reduced waste services provided by councils during the COIVD-19 crisis – has resulted in calls for local recycling centres to be reopened.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) is reported to have opened a consultation with local authorities on whether this is feasible.
The Department recently issued a statement saying 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”.
According to the latest local authority survey conducted by ADEPT, 92% of household waste recycling centres are closed, with the remainder “suffering high levels of disruption”.
The latest ADEPT survey also shows the number of councils operating fly-tipping clearance collections has gone up from 61% to 66% after the Countryside Alliance reported a 300% rise in fly-tipping in some areas.
Veolia UK recently launched a guide, titled ‘Local Authority Guidance on the Safe reopening of HWRC Networks‘ to help local authorities and contractors to “safely reopen” HWRCs during the COVID-19 lockdown.
A recent survey conducted by SUEZ Recycling and Recovery which found 0 out of 128 polled council representatives said they considered a trip to the household waste and recycling centre (HWRC) “essential” under current regulations.