The reopening of Wigan recycling centres hailed huge success
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Wigan Council initially closed the sites during the coronavirus pandemic, but there were concerns about people having extra household waste due to spending more time at home, spring cleaning and taking on DIY projects.
There was also a rise in the number of reports of fly-tipping and more people were using public litter bins to dispose of rubbish from their homes.
The recycling centres reopened on April 17, with several restrictions in place, and have been very busy since.
Paul Barton, the council’s director for environment, said: “The reopening of our recycling centres has been a smooth process given the scale and size of the task that faced the council.
“A huge thank you to our partners FFC and all our staff who have shown incredible flexibility and dedication in their approach.
“The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with users praising the organisation which is testament to everyone involved.
“We would like to thank residents who have in the majority listened to the strict rules in place and observed social distancing guidelines when on site.
“However, it’s important to reinforce only cars and small vans are permitted, any larger type vehicles like camper vans are not allowed.
“It’s also vital that only one person attends any of the sites otherwise you may be turned away due to social distancing guidance.”
Traffic management is in place at all of the centres and, due to concerns about queueing outside the sites, residents may be asked to leave and return at a later time.
Council officials stress that vehicles containing one person are allowed to enter and any commercial vehicles or vehicle trailers will be refused.
Social distancing measures are in place, so no assistance can be given when unloading waste, and people may be asked for their post codes.
Local authorities across Greater Manchester have been put under pressure from opposition groups after the council – which has control over its own waste disposal – reopened its sites last week.
Talks have been taking place between council leaders and the combined authority, which oversees 20 household waste recycling centres on their behalf, about whether they should also reopen.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham announced there will be a partial reopening of some of the centres within the next two weeks, with full details to be confirmed.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has urged councils to keep centres open “only if social distancing guidelines can be adhered to” amid growing reports of fly-tipping.