Local authority networks issue guidance on reopening HWRCs

Led by NAWDO, local authority network groups including the Local Authority Recycling Advisory committee (LARAC), Assistant Directors of Economy, Environment, Planning and Transport (ADEPT) and London Waste Advisory Recycling Board (LWARB) have published the ‘Coronavirus – Restarting Household Waste Recycling Centre Service’ guidance amid growing calls for Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) to reopen.

Speaking on behalf of the key networks, Gurbaksh Badhan, Chair of NAWDO, said: “The guide provides a number of considerations for local authorities in devising plans for restarting the recycling centre services. We hope colleagues across local authorities find the guide useful and can adapt to best fit their local needs.”

“Restarting recycling centres service will require a number of supporting systems to commence working again including supply chains. Changes may include a range of things to manage demand and social distancing. This could include phased opening of the network, traffic management, the number of customers able to be on site at any one time, restrictions on some materials as the supply chain may not be fully open at present, however may do so in coming days and weeks.”

The guide provides a number of considerations for local authorities in devising plans for restarting the recycling centre services.

CIWM has welcomed the guidance, saying that it provides important detail and advice across the full range of issues that will need to be addressed for sites to reopen, including site operation and social distancing, traffic controls, close working with offtakers and hauliers to ensure material can be moved and accepted, and communications to the public.

“However, there are still questions around how the reopening of HWRCs is aligned to current rules on ‘essential travel’ and we are expecting further clarification on this from the Government,” said Pat Jennings, CIWM’s Head of Policy, Knowledge & External Affairs. Providing feedback recently on this issue, a CIWM policy statement noted that a safe and successful approach to the reopening of HWRCs should include:

  • clear interpretation of the law to confirm that travelling to an HWRC is allowable under the current ‘essential travel’ restrictions;
  • a consistent national approach to support local decision making by local authorities and police forces tasked with policing the essential travel requirements;
  • continued emphasis on delivering effective kerbside residual, recycling, food and other collections as the first priority; and
  • an understanding of the full economic cost of re-opening HWRCs in a manner that ensures effective social distancing and meets general safety requirements related to the operation of the site and addition controls on vehicular movements.
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