COVID-19 precautions at West Sussex’s Recycling Centres to maintain social distancing have unavoidably reduced the number of visitors safely on site at any one time.
This has led to significant congestion and queueing on our Highway Network at certain sites and at times the police have advised closure of sites for road safety reasons.
It is likely that lockdown measures will be eased just at the time that the annual “spring surge” in demand to use sites picks up. West Sussex County Council is therefore considering a trial of a booking system at five sites across West Sussex.
Residents would be able to go online or call to select a specific time slot to visit the sites which will reduce waiting times and prevent queues on nearby roads and inconvenience to neighbouring residents and businesses.
The proposal is for the trial to cover the Bognor Regis, Crawley, Horsham, Littlehampton and Shoreham-By-Sea sites from mid-March. The proposal will be scrutinised by the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee on Wednesday 3 March.
The introduction of a booking system will reduce pressure on the selected Recycling Centres when lockdown restrictions are lifted. At the moment, residents are asked to only visit the sites for essential reasons, where they are unable to safely store recycling or waste at home. As the restrictions ease, it is anticipated more people will want to use the sites.
Residents have been encouraged to make full use of their kerbside collections, run by the District and Borough Councils, some of which also allow for small electrical items and textiles to be collected with your regular collections, but the use of Recycling Centres has continued at almost the same levels as before lockdown.
Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “A booking system would allow us to provide a fair and equal service to all residents and also help reduce pressure on HWRSs as lockdown restrictions are lifted. Similar booking systems have been implemented in other areas, such as Hampshire, and have successfully improved the experience of using HWRSs for residents, as well as helping to manage the demand on the system.
“It should also have a positive impact on those living or operating businesses close to a Recycling Centre. Traffic would be more evenly spread across the day rather than peaking at certain times. Reduced queues would also help to reduce the environmental impact of vehicles visiting the sites and mean a smoother and quicker visiting experience for residents.
“Traffic from the sites can impact on local roads and residents, as well as having a detrimental impact on air quality due to vehicles queuing with engines running. The trial is designed to see how well the system works to reduce these."
More information will be available on our website after the decision has been made.
Or sign up to the West Sussex Recycles newsletter.