Suffolk recycling centres could reopen in May – but with strict new rules

Portman Road Recycling Centre.

Portman Road Recycling Centre. - Credit: Sarah Lucy brown

Council officials in Suffolk are looking at how household recycling centres across the county might be able to start operating again later in May – but things would be very different to their previous operation.

Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick told the House of Commons on Tuesday: “I’m asking councils to plan the organised re-opening of household recycling sites. I expect this to happen over the coming weeks and will be publishing amended guidance shortly.”

There has been concern in some parts of the country that the closure of household waste sites at the start of the coronavirus lockdown could have led to an increase in fly-tipping.

Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for household waste sites Paul West said officials were starting to look at ways they could be reopened.

“We will have to see what advice we get from the government on reopening these sites. There are officials looking at how that might happen – but it would have to be in line with the rules on social distancing and we would have to ensure that people don’t come within two metres of each other.

“There would have to be some work before the centres could open up again.”

There have been reports that if centres do reopen, people using them would not be able to just drive up with waste they want to leave. They would have to book a slot online with a specific time to arrive.

They would have to show an official document with the name and address on it to show that they live near the site and had not travelled a considerable distance to get there.

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Mr West did not know exactly what would happen – saying that the council would have to wait to see the government advice.

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But he was dubious about the claims about increased fly-tipping: “There has always been some fly-tipping even when the household recycling sites are open and the figures we have seen suggest that this year there has not been any more than there was this time last year.”

Meanwhile as the possibility of opening recycling centres is being discussed, district councils across Suffolk are likely to come under pressure to reconsider the position of brown bin collections. These were suspended in March – but many gardeners are frustrated at not being able to get rid grass cuttings and weeds in the growing season.

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