Long queues outside Hastings tip has led to calls for people to consider whether their visit is absolutely necessary.
Since East Sussex County Council (ESCC) reopened its ten household waste recycling sites two weeks ago, on May 18th, thousands of people have had to be turned away as traffic build-up has resulted in congestion with those going to the tip waiting for up to two hours in a queue to get in.
Announcing plans to reopen the tips – including the Hastings tip at Freshfields, just off Bexhill Road – ESCC urged people to visit only if they had potentially dangerous waste that couldn’t be stored or be disposed of in their kerbside collection.
To ensure social distancing, a number of restrictions have had to be put into place which reduces the capacity at each facility. Added to this opening hours have been reduced to ensure the sites can be serviced and cleaned, while vans and trailers and vehicles over two metres high have been temporarily banned.
But with many taking advantage of the warm weather to work on their homes and gardens, some are queuing for more than two hours for some of the county’s sites.
Councillor Claire Dowling, lead member for transport and environment, said: “I completely understand that people are keen to get rid of the rubbish they have been storing since our waste sites closed in late March but because of the need for social distancing, most of our sites have half the usual number of parking bays available and while they operate at a significantly reduced capacity, cannot cope with the number of visitors we are currently seeing.
“The number of cars queuing, which starts a long time before the sites open, is posing a real danger to other road users and preventing us from preparing the site for more visitors. We have already had motorists attempting to get to sites turned away by police as roads have become blocked.”
She added: “I would again encourage people to think twice before heading to your local household waste site. Can your waste and recycling be stored until demand dies down, or can it be broken down and safely disposed of or recycled in your kerbside collection?”
As well as a ban on vans and trailers, visitors are temporarily unable to dispose of chargeable waste to avoid close contact between members of the public and staff.
Ms Dowling added: “We are all struggling to adjust to life with all the restrictions in place to ensure we stay healthy and safe and I appreciate how frustrating the changes at our waste sites can be, but I would ask that anyone visiting our facilities treat our traffic and site staff with respect and follow their instructions.”
Residents who need to travel to waste sites are being asked to check opening times and restrictions before travelling to a facility. Information can be found at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/environment/rubbishandrecycling/coronavirus-rubbish-and-recycling/