Labour hits back at recycling centres decision following safety concerns

Councillor Ivan Henderson, leader of the Essex Labour group. Photo: Essex Labour County group/Facebo

Councillor Ivan Henderson, leader of the Essex Labour group. Photo: Essex Labour County group/Facebook. - Credit: Essex Labour County group/Facebook

Essex Labour has reacted to the recent announcement that Essex County Council is planning to reopen 15 recycling centres across the county. This is due to happen today Monday, May 18 and will include Saffron Walden, Braintree and Chelmsford recycling centres.

The Labour group said they welcome the reopening of the centres but have several concerns.

In a public statement, the group said the fact that some recycling sites will not reopen means there will be more cars on local roads and more people using the centres which are open.

A spokesperson for Essex Labour said: “There is no system to manage the number of people expected to travel to a recycling centre after seven weeks of closure.

“We expect these numbers to be extraordinary and, in many cases, lead to safety concerns on public roads with large tailbacks.”

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The group suggested a booking system should be put in place for each centre in order to manage traffic – and that all centres should be open.

In addition, they would also like smaller sites to be managed by opening them on different days of the week.

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In response to Essex Labour’s concerns, a spokesperson for Essex County Council restated that people should only visit recycling centres if absolutely necessary and if the waste stored at home poses a risk of injury or negatively affects health – and that they should rely on kerbside collections whenever possible.

The centres reopening on Monday are, according to the council, those believed to best accommodate social distancing on site.

Regarding the booking system suggestion, the ECC spokesperson said: “A booking system was considered but the development of a system able to handle the number of likely users would have caused further delays in reopening the recycling centres.

“Booking systems also slow vehicle throughput and reduce the site capacity as checks are required at the gate and those that attend without booking would need to be dealt with. The priority of the County Council is to make it as easy as possible for those that must attend a recycling centre, and to maximise the number of users that can attend in one day.”

It has not yet been decided when the other recycling centres will be reopened.

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