Councils in Wales have agreed together that they will need to have confidence in adequate staffing levels, health and safety compliance, and consultation with Trade Unions, before considering re-opening Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) in local areas.
On Friday, the First Minister confirmed plans to amend regulations to allow travel to recycling sites when they are eventually reopened in the future. While this regulation change enables councils to re-open sites, they are unlikely to re-open immediately as each local authority will use their discretion to decide if it is safe to do so in line with the situation in their area.
Local councils will keep residents informed of any plans and timescales for re-opening facilities in each authority area.
Recycling centres have remained closed since lockdown was introduced to minimise non-essential journeys. Councils have continued to keep the situation under constant review to encourage residents to comply with the measures.
All councils have agreed a common set of criteria that will need to be met before they can consider the safe re-opening of recycling sites. Councils will need to be satisfied that:
- There is an appropriate level of staff available to operate the facilities.
- The sites can comply with stringent health and safety requirements including sanitisation, social distancing and the implications for traffic management.
- Trade Unions are being consulted to agree the basis for any reopening and operation of the Centres.
Councillor Andrew Morgan (Rhondda Cynon Taf), WLGA Leader said:
“Since the beginning of the lockdown, the government’s message has been clear that we should all stay at home except for very limited reasons.
“While the First Minister has today confirmed plans to permit journeys to recycling centres, it will be for each local authority to decide when is safe to open the sites in their areas.”
“Councils are working together, and with the Police, Welsh Government and Trade Unions, to explore how the facilities can be adapted to comply with current Coronavirus rules.
“The safety of the public and staff remains our top priority. Although we know that some have experienced inconvenience, local authorities are determined to ensure that sites in each area will only reopen when it is safe to do so, and when residents can feel confident in using them again.”
Notes for Editors