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Public praised as 14 Highland Household Waste and Recycling Centres successfully reopen across the region as coronavirus lockdown eases

By Ian Duncan

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There was a steady stream of visitors at the Inverness Household Recycling Center when it reopened its gates for the first time on Monday.
There was a steady stream of visitors at the Inverness Household Recycling Center when it reopened its gates for the first time on Monday.

Highland Council has praised residents as a large number of visitors turn up to use its recycling centres which were reopened this week as the Covid-19 lockdown eases.

On Monday Highland Council reopened 14 Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) across the region to allow people to drop off their garden and bagged household waste.

The last few days have been a success with the phased approach to the reopening working well – with visitors using the sites at safe and manageable levels and staff have adapted well to the new social distancing rules.

The 14 centres currently operating are in Alness, Aviemore, Brora, Dingwall, Fort William, Gairloch, Inverness, Lochinver, Nairn, Tain, Tongue, Thurso, Ullapool and Wick.

As each site is different and presents its own set of challenges, work is underway to look at reopening those not yet open, including the site at Portree, when the council is confident that the resources and safety controls are in place.

Councillor Allan Henderson, the chairman of the council’s communities and places committee has thanked the public for their understanding and for following new guidance.

He said: “The cautious phased approach we have put in place has worked very well. The high number of people visiting the sites was as we anticipated it would be but the volume of waste has been handled safely and efficiently by staff.

"Any queues of traffic are free flowing with waiting times being kept to a minimum. I want to sincerely thank the public for their cooperation and for following the new guidance. I want to also thank all our staff for all their hard work in helping to keep the public safe."

The council's key messages include a reminder that the sites are for cars only, no trailers or vans are allowed as part of this phase, and only bagged household and garden waste can be accepted until further notice.

The guidance also makes it clear that only one person can leave each car and the 2m social distancing rule should be followed at all times.

Anyone planning to make a journey is asked to check the opening hours of their local site before setting off.

Cllr Henderson said: “The co-operation we’ve had so far from the public has been fantastic. It is very important that everyone planning to visit a site continues to stick to the restrictions on vehicles and materials they bring.

"They are in place to reduce the time spent at the sites so that as many as people as possible can pass through quickly and safely, enabling traffic to flow more freely. Our staff are unable to assist with handling waste so householders should only bring waste they can carry and empty into the containers.”

The usage of all sites will be closely monitored before moving to the next phase where it is hoped that the council will be able to expand the materials and vehicles that will be accepted.

Full details of the opening hours of all the sites are available by visiting here.

Click here for more coronavirus news.

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