Devon recycling centres may have to close for safety reasons

PUBLISHED: 18:00 15 May 2020 | UPDATED: 08:45 20 May 2020

Recycling bins used by households across East Devon. Picture EDDC

Recycling bins used by households across East Devon. Picture EDDC


Motorists are being warned that some of Devon’s recycling may have to close temporarily due to safety issues with traffic queuing back onto main roads.

The Household Waste Recycling Centres reopened this week for essential use only, with it having gone ‘relatively well so far’, according to the councillor in charge.

But despite the repeated warnings that there will be queues and therefore people should delay their visits, some recycling centres have seen traffic stretching back along the highway, causing safety concerns.

Both Sidmouth and Exmouth Recycling Centres had to close temporarily on Tuesday to disperse the queues, because of the risk they posed to other road users.

Devon County Council is appealing again to the public to keep the highways clear and is warning that if queues get too long then they will temporarily have to close some of the recycling centres to disperse traffic off the highway.

Cllr Andrea Davis, the council’s cabinet member responsible for the recycling centres, said: “I’d like to thank everyone who is using the recycling centres sensibly for their current ‘essential trip only’ purpose. However, we’re issuing a fresh appeal today for the public to not queue on the highway.

“It’s causing a safety problem, for others as well as themselves.

“We are open for essential trips only, and we intend to stay open in a managed and safe way.

“If we feel that the situation is becoming unsafe, we will as a last resort close a site temporarily in order to disperse traffic off the highway.
“It’s not at all an ideal solution and we’d rather it not get that far. But if we deem it necessary for the safety of other road users, we’ll do it.”

While recycling centres have reopened just for essential trips, only cars are currently allowed on site in order to minimise the time it takes to unload, and to maximise throughput.

However, social distancing means the number of vehicles safely allowed within the sites is roughly a third to a half the usual capacity, and as site staff are unable to assist visitors with unloading of waste, so it’s sometimes taking drivers a little longer to drive through.

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