A NEW booking system is being introduced later this month at Hampshire tips in an effort to alleviate traffic chaos and abuse of site staff.
Hampshire County Council had threatened to close household waste recycling centres completely because their reopening had caused long queues and there were reports workers had been abused and spat at.
However, Cllr Rob Humby, cabinet member for economy, transport and environment, said the booking system – set to be up and running by “mid-June” – would allow staff to better manage the demand.
He also revealed that until the system is up and running, customer liaison officers are being sent to HWRCs where queuing traffic is causing safety issues or obstructions.
“Hampshire has one of the largest HWRC networks in the country, and we recognise how Hampshire residents value the service which has been both convenient and effective in promoting recycling and managing waste,” Cllr Humby said.
“However, the level of demand we are currently seeing cannot be accommodated with social distancing and safe working requirements without long delays, and therefore we will need to bring in more significant changes.”
Defending its decision to bring in the system, HCC claimed similar booking systems have been introduced elsewhere in the country for HWRCs and gardens and parks. It will allow for up to 30,000 visits per week, HCC went on, and people will be able to book several days ahead.
Cllr Humby said traffic queues continued to be high despite residents being urged to make use of kerbside collections provided by district and borough councils and visiting HWRC only if they cannot safely store waste at home.
“This traffic has impacted local people trying to get to work as well as having a detrimental impact on the ability for businesses nearby to get back up and running and deliver essential services,” he claimed.
The news was welcomed by Totton county councillor David Harrison as a “sensible step”, especially since a similar policy had been adopted in Portsmouth and on the Isle of Wight.
He claimed he had suggested the idea to HCC officers a fortnight ago, adding: “I am pleased they have adopted these measures.”