Hampshire County Council is continuing to work with its waste contractor and neighbouring authorities on plans as to how Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) could re-open safely, in the event that Government guidelines on non-essential journeys during the Coronavirus pandemic are amended.
Councillor Rob Humby, Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment at Hampshire County Council, said:
We took the decision to close HWRCs in Hampshire following the Government’s announcement on 23 March that we should stay at home to protect the NHS and prevent the spread of Coronavirus, except for very limited and specific reasons – to go to work where we cannot work at home, to buy food and medicine, to exercise once a day, or for any medical need.
Should there come a point when the Government either amends the regulations and visiting an HWRC is added to the list of essential journeys, or travel restrictions are eased, we will work with our neighbouring local authorities to try establish a common approach for the safe re-opening of sites as far as practicably possible. This will reflect any national standards or guidance set by the Government. We are currently working with our contractor on plans on how this might be done in a way that would ensure social distancing and the health, safety and security of site staff and residents could be maintained.
I would emphasise, however, that we need consistent guidance from the Government. This is particularly important at a time when the message to the country is to consolidate progress on preventing the spread of Coronavirus through the extension of travel restrictions – which includes the continued closure of schools and non-essential shops – for another three weeks at least.
Hampshire County Council continues to plan for the safe re-opening of HWRCs, including the implications of putting in safe social distancing for staff and residents, the impact of traffic queues, haulage capacity concerns and additional cost implications of safely managing likely high demand.