James O'Brien 10am - 1pm
Around half of local authorities plan to open rubbish tips by next week
7 May 2020, 12:42
Almost half of local authorities hope to have some of their rubbish tips open again by the end of next week, a survey of local councils suggests.
The survey found more than four in five English councils had plans to open some dumps, with one in nine planning to have household waste and recycling centres open this week.
The Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport (Adept) who commissioned the research found 37 per cent expected to reopen sites by May 14.
Social distancing fears saw many household recycling and waste centres close as the nation went into coronavirus lockdown.
Some councils also wanted their staff to concentrate on bin collections.
But closure of tips and curbs on some collections, along with more waste being generated by people embarking on spring clean clear-outs, DIY projects and gardening, has raised concerns over an increase in fly-tipping.
This week, the Government published updated guidance encouraging local authorities to reopen their centres if social distancing measures can be put in place and staff and visitors can be kept safe.
Householders are being told they should only take rubbish to a household waste and recycling centre if it cannot be stored safely at home and no alternatives for disposing of it, such as bulky waste collections, are available.
David Renard, environment spokesman for the Local Government Association, said: "Councils are keen to open household waste and recycling centres as soon as practicable. The decision to reopen sites will be taken by individual councils based on risk assessments in their area.
"This will be a gradual process over the next few weeks and based on whether they have enough staff, social distancing measures are in place to protect workers and members of the public, and waste staff are given personal protective equipment to reduce the risk of infection and provide reassurance."