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Tips in Cornwall could reopen to help get rid of lockdown waste

Tips in Cornwall could reopen to help get rid of lockdown waste

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 6:24am 1st May 2020.

Written by Richard Whitehouse, Local Democracy Reporter

The coronavirus lockdown has seen many people take advantage of being stuck at home to carry out some DIY or work in the garden.

However, this flurry of activity has coincided with Cornwall’s tips being closed to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

In the early days of restrictions there were queues of traffic at the household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) due to the extra time people had at home and the good weather.

Now the council has said that it is looking at how they can reopen the tips so that people can start to get rid of their waste.

Rob Nolan, Cabinet member responsible, said that while there was no date for when the HWRCs would open he was hopeful a solution would be found soon.

In a message to councillors he said: “I’m really keen to reopen the HWRCs as soon as possible. But there are some issues to resolve. In the last weekend before lockdown we had two hour queues at some of our tips, with people refusing to keep safe distances and abusing our staff. We can’t expect our staff to work in an unsafe environment. And much the same happened across the UK, with over 90% of tips closed nationally.

“Earlier in the week the Government made some comments about wanting to see HWRCs reopen. So we have joined with the Association of County Councils in writing to the Minister asking for assistance with what we see as obstacles to our reopening.

“Firstly the Government has said that trips to the tips are not necessary journeys, and some Police Forces have said they will turn back or fine anyone driving to the tip. That needs to be changed, and it needs a clear Government statement saying trips to the tips are necessary.

“Secondly it’s difficult to operate the tips safely at present. The Trade Bodies have said it can only be done with a booking system, which will be expensive to install, and we’ve asked for Government assistances with that. We’ve also asked for police support for the first week after reopening, as whatever we do there will be crowds. We await a reply.

“I’m also aware that Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Manchester, has said that he hopes to open Manchester’s tips in the next two weeks. I’ve asked my team to have at look at what they are doing up there.
 
“Our Kerbside Recycling is still working, and to cope with the extra demand we’re using ordinary bin lorries to pick up the extra cardboard and plastics. But don’t worry, it all still gets recycled!
 
“I’m hopeful that we’ll arrive at solutions in the next couple of weeks, and will be able to announce an opening date, and in the meantime I assure you that I am well aware of the demand and am working to get the tips open.”

Rob Nolan, Cornwall Council

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