Defra guidance on re-opening Household Waste Recycling Centres

Defra have published guidance for local authorities on how they can safely re-open their Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs).

Councils are being encouraged to open sites to avoid the build-up of waste in homes and businesses and reduce the opportunity for fly-tipping – but only where social distancing can be maintained and the public and staff can be kept safe.

Under the terms of the lockdown, householders can travel to a centre if the waste in their home presents a risk of injury or a risk to public health or the local environment.

The guidance sets out how local authorities could manage access and the number of people who are able to be on site at any one time.

If possible, waste should continue to be stored safely and disposed of using regular council collections.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow said:

‘Maintaining crucial waste services while protecting public health remains a top priority during these unprecedented times, and I commend our councils on the superbly efficient job they are doing in keeping waste collection services running.

We are publishing this guidance to help local authorities re-open their recycling centres over the coming days and weeks. This will ensure that more waste can be properly disposed of and we avoid the likelihood of fly-tipping.’

The new guidance recognises the importance of councils making independent assessments of which centres can be re-opened based on how much capacity they have and the practicalities of adhering to social distancing requirements at any one site.

Householders should check with their council to see if their local site is open.