Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: “We have recently extended opening hours, which has helped, but with very high demand and long queues persisting at a number of sites, we now need to consider other options, including limiting visits with a pre-booking system.”
With new measures in place at HWRCs for safe social distancing, the number of vehicles now able to access each site at any one time is much less than before the Coronavirus outbreak.
Residents have been urged to make use of kerbside collections provided by district and borough councils and only visit an HWRC at this time if they cannot safely store waste at home, but traffic queues have continued to be significant at a number of HWRCs across the county. This traffic has impacted on local people trying to get to work as well as having a detrimental impact on the ability for businesses nearby to get back up and running and deliver essential services.
Councillor Humby continued: “Hampshire has one of the largest HWRC networks in the country, and we recognise how Hampshire residents value the service which has been both convenient and effective in promoting recycling and managing waste. However, the level of demand we are currently seeing cannot be accommodated with social distancing and safe working requirements without long delays, and therefore we will need to bring in more significant changes.”
Similar booking systems have been introduced elsewhere in the country, not just for HWRCs but recreational activities such as gardens and parks. The system will allow for between 25 - 30,000 visits per week and people will be able to book several days’ ahead. The new pre-booking system will be operating at all Hampshire HWRCs from mid-June. Full details on how to book will be available at the end of next week.
Until the pre-booking system is up and running, additional customer liaison officers are being deployed to HWRC sites where queuing traffic is causing safety issues or obstructions.
Councillor Humby said: “I’d ask people once again to take notice of highway signs, be considerate of others and not block roads or junctions when queuing.”
Further information is available at: www.hants.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling