Why are there hour-long queues at Northampton tips? The councillor in charge explains...

Government cuts in 2014 and 2015 led to changes in the way the tip was funded and managed, Conservative County Councillor Jason Smithers said

Friday, 19th March 2021, 3:14 pm
Updated Friday, 19th March 2021, 3:16 pm

With hour-long queues at some of the tips across Northampton due to the build-up of extra waste from lockdown and Covid regulations meaning less people can use the tip at one time, this newspaper has asked for the county council to explain the best way to manage your waste.

This newspaper asked the county council:

- Why are the tips not always open during the pandemic?

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The Sixfields tip

- Why are there always queues?

- What should people do with all their rubbish if they are being warned away from the busy tips?

- Are there any plans in the pipeline to open the tips for longer? Especially due to excess fly-tipping in the town

Jason Smithers, Cabinet Member for Highways and Place for Northamptonshire County Council, said: “There have been no recent changes to the service provision for our Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC).

The queues have been building at Sixfields

"In 2014/15, to meet the financial challenges that Northamptonshire County Council faced from significant reductions in the funding it received from central government, a review and public consultation was carried out to the HWRC service which led to changes to the number of HWRCs available and a reduction to the site opening hours and days.

"Our network of nine HWRCs are open from 10am till 6.00pm, five days a week. All nine HWRCs are open on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and full details are available on our website here."

The councillor went on to say the tips have still stayed open during lockdown but due to multiple factors brought on by the Covid crisis, the HWRCs have been busier than usual.

Councillor Smithers said: “The HWRCs have remained open providing a full service during this current national lockdown and have been extremely busy with a high demand for their services, especially during a recent period of finer weather, with the schools being closed, and many people being at home.

"This high demand, combined with the mandatory social distancing measures and increased cleaning regime implemented at all sites, has slowed the usual throughput of vehicles and in turn has resulted in long queues forming outside many of the HWRC sites.

"We anticipate that the traffic issues will subside in a few weeks as national lockdown restrictions ease - for example, when the retail sector re-opens and many people will be returning to work.

"We are monitoring site usage, visitor numbers and are reviewing a number of options to help further manage the traffic and the current high demand for the recycling centres.”

Here's what Councillor Smithers said people can do if they are unable to get to a HWRC:

· Instead of making several trips to the HWRC with very small amounts of waste, if possible, safely store the waste until there is a full vehicle load to take.

· Make better use of the kerbside waste collections for any excess recyclable materials such as cardboard, plastic bottles etc. If there is too much to fit in the wheelie bin, these can be collected if placed in a clear plastic bag next to the bin.

· Consider booking a kerbside bulky waste collection for any large items of furniture or large domestic appliances.

· Consider hiring a skip if carrying out large amounts of household renovation or building work.

Alex Walsh, operations manager at Northamptonshire HWRCs, said workers are having to adapt to the way they are now operating due to Covid.

He said: “In order to ensure the safety of visitors to HWRCs in adherence with government guidelines regarding COVID-19 we have had to adapt the way we operate. To maintain appropriate social distancing we need to restrict the number of people coming onto each site at any one time and this is causing longer queuing times.

"We would like to thank local residents for their understanding and patience.”

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