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Plans under way for phased reopening of Highland waste recycling centres


By Alan Hendry

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The Highland Council waste recycling centre in Wick is among those across the region that are closed temporarily.
The Highland Council waste recycling centre in Wick is among those across the region that are closed temporarily.

Preparations are well under way for many of the household waste recycling centres in the north to reopen to the public from June 1.

The sites operated by Highland Council and all other Scottish local authorities have been closed since the end of March due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Councillor Allan Henderson, chairman of Highland Council's communities and place committee, said: “I know how much the household waste recycling centres are valued by the public, therefore I am pleased that we are taking this next positive step along with the rest of Scotland to get them open as soon as is practicable.

"The reopening of the household waste recycling centres will require a phased approach with strict controls to ensure social distancing is adopted and so that the anticipated increase in visitor numbers can be managed. The first phase will see only cars being accepted and site users will be restricted to depositing bagged household waste as well as loose garden waste."

He continued: “From June 1, the sites are likely to look and feel very different to what people are used to and will not be operating as business as usual. In the initial phase the opening hours of all the sites will also be revised to ensure staffing levels can be maintained.

"Delays and queues are expected at all sites when they first reopen. I would like to take this opportunity to urge the public to visit the sites only if it is absolutely essential and if the waste or recycling cannot be picked up by the kerbside collections or stored safely at home.

“Not all of our household waste recycling centres in the region will be ready to reopen on June 1, as we are experiencing staff absence and we need to make changes to sites to be sure they can be operated safely and efficiently so that we do not put our staff or anyone using the centres at risk.”

More information about the reopening of the sites will be available on the council’s website next week along with frequently asked questions. Details will also be published in the local press and via social media channels.

Householders are asked to make sure they check the specific site opening hours and restrictions before travelling to the site.

Staff will be in place at the entrance to each site to speak to people and advise on waiting times and procedures on site. If a queue is too large, some vehicles may be turned away and asked to come back later.

To help reduce the possible spread of coronavirus, staff will be adopting "robust hygiene standards".Householders are being reminded not to visit the site if they are showing symptoms of the virus.

The council emphasises that no commercial waste or recycling will be accepted.

Further information will be available on the council website.


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