Long queues as Hastings rubbish tip reopens

Long queues formed outside the Hastings rubbish tip ahead of its reopening this morning (Monday, May 18).

The council-run site was closed during the early stages of the coronavirus lockdown.

However, at 10am today, East Sussex County Council reopened its ten household waste recycling sites, including the Hastings household waste recycling site, in Freshfields, Bexhill.

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The site reopened at 10am but pictures taken between 9.15am and 9.20am showed dozens of cars queueing.

Hastings rubbish tip reopens

The council had previously warned of long queues as a result of high demands and social distancing measures.

In an attempt to reduce queues, the council urged residents to only use the tips if 'absolutely necessary'.

Cllr Claire Dowling, lead member for transport and environment, said: “While we are pleased to be able to reopen our household waste recycling sites, the health and safety of everyone working at, and visiting the sites remain our top priority.

“We expect demand to be extremely high initially, and I would urge people to only travel to a site if you absolutely have to; to dispose of items that, if kept, could pose a safety risk to people in your household.

Hastings rubbish tip reopens

“To open safely, we are going to have to severely restrict how we use the sites so the service will look very different and residents who need to use our HWRS should expect significant delays which, while frustrating, will be unavoidable.”

The council says sites will initially open from 10am to 4pm every day, but weekend opening hours will vary at some sites. Opening days and times are available at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/rubbish.

Social distancing will need to be maintained on site, meaning the number of parking bays will be limited and only one person will be allowed to use the access ramps at any one time.

Staff will not be able to assist with unloading.

Hastings rubbish tip reopens

To avoid lengthy visits, only cars will be allowed to access the site, not trailers or over-sized vehicles, until demand drops.

To avoid close contact between staff and residents, the re-use shops will remain closed and chargeable waste – plasterboard, bonded asbestos, tyres, hardcore and soil – will not be accepted.

The council also says it will monitor the impact of the tips reopening on the surrounding highways and will make changes if necessary.

Cllr Dowling added: “We all want life to return to normal as quickly as possible, but we all have a duty and responsibility to follow the guidelines to protect the most vulnerable and prevent the NHS from becoming overwhelmed.

Hastings rubbish tip reopens

“We feel the arrangements we plan to put in place are the best way to keep both the staff and people using the site safe as the Covid-19 crisis continues.”

The county council’s rubbish tips are run under contract by waste and recycling provider Veolia.

Allan Key, of Veolia South Downs said: “We understand that the HWRS network is very important to the community.

“We want to be able to help residents who cannot keep their waste at home safely, help to ease the pressure on local kerbside collections, and discourage fly tipping.

“We have worked very hard with the council to carefully plan the reopening of the sites to ensure they are a safe place to work for our team and public to visit.

“We are asking all site users to support our hard-working teams on the front line by following the guidance on the council’s webpage and any information or instructions provided at the sites.”