Queues as Northumberland's tips reopen - with these restrictions in place

Northumberland’s tips have reopened today (Monday, May 4), with some reports of long queues first thing this morning.

By Ben O'Connell
Monday, 4th May 2020, 1:27 pm
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 2:21 pm

As announced last Wednesday, Northumberland County Council has reopened its 12 household waste recovery centres (HWRCs), following an agreement with SUEZ, the company that operates the sites.

They had been closed since Tuesday, March 24, following the Government’s announcement of lockdown measures to limit the spread of coronavirus, but guidance issued the week before last advised councils they could reopen HWRCs – if social distancing could be maintained.

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The queue at Alnwick HWRC at 11am on Monday. Picture by Ben O’Connell

With this in mind, a number of restrictions are in place, including a limit on the number of people who can visit at any one time, with only one person permitted outside each vehicle once on-site. People must also stay inside their vehicle while queuing.

There will be traffic management controls in place at each HWRC and visits are only for Northumberland residents – with proof of residence required for what should only be essential visits.

In Alnwick, one sign on the approach to the tip tells motorists to display their address in their windshield, while another – a little way back from the access road on the main road through the Lionheart Enterprise Park (Oak Drive) – tells drivers that if the queue is beyond this point that they should return at another time.

When they announced the reopening of the HWRCs, the council said that it was anticipating that there may be significant demand in the first few days and warned that should very long queues form, residents may be asked to leave and come back at a later date.

Signs warning residents of some of the restrictions for users of the tip. Picture by Ben O’Connell

In Alnwick, there were reports of queues building up just after the tip opened at 8am, but by 11am, there were just a handful of cars waiting to get into the site.

Elsewhere, the council issued an alert to warn about queues at the HWRCs in Blyth Bebside, and Kirkley, near Ponteland.

‘The tip at Bebside is already extremely busy with queueing traffic (8.40am) and at least a 30min wait time to get in. There are also queues at Kirkley. Please consider delaying your essential visit until another day – they’re open from 8am-6pm every day,’ it said.

The council has emphasised that Defra guidance outlines that a visit would only be considered essential under the lockdown restrictions if the waste materials cannot be stored at home without causing risk of injury or harm to health.

The sites in Alnwick, Ashington, Berwick, Blyth, Hexham, Morpeth and Prudhoe will be open daily from 8am to 6pm, while those in Allendale, Haltwhistle, Kirkley West Thorn, North Sunderland and Wooler will be open the same hours but only on Fridays through to Mondays.

The HWRCs will only be able to accept bagged general household waste, garden waste, wood and bulky items of household waste such as old furniture.

For more information on all of the rules and restrictions, visit www.northumberland.gov.uk/tip

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