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MP's call to reopen recycling centres to combat fly-tipping is rejected

Fly-tipping was rife in the New Forest prior to the lockdown
Fly-tipping was rife in the New Forest prior to the lockdown

BCP Council has rejected a call by a Dorset MP to reopen tips to help tackle the increasing problem of fly-tipping.

Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, said so long as proper social distancing measures were introduced, recycling centres across the country could be brought back into use.

But BCP Council said it would not reopen its three tips, including the one at Wilverley Road in Christchurch, until government guidance changed. It also claimed there had been no increase in fly-tipping incidents.

The recycling centres were shut last month as the council reprioritised its waste collection services. Staff absences due to sickness and self-isolation prompted it to focus on its kerbside waste and recycling collections.

But Mr Ellwood said it was now time to bring the tips back into use under an initial trial period to avoid exacerbating fly-tipping incidents.

“There’s a steady thoroughfare of people wanting to use the recycling centre at any juncture, and there will be a cumulative pressure – even more so now,” he said.

“You would anticipate spacing restrictions to be introduced as a reflection of the government guidance, and this must be observed.

“We are seeing a nation that wants to make this work but there is a reality that life goes on, and this would help avoid a build-up of fly-tipping and waste not being disposed of appropriately.”

He said the council’s response to the coronavirus pandemic had been “incredible” and said any reopening would be dependent on it having the staff available to do so and social distancing precautions being taken.

But the council’s cabinet member for the environment, Cllr Felicity Rice, said until rules on non-essential travel were changed, the tips would remain closed.

“We made the difficult decision to suspend some of our waste collection services after experiencing staff absences due to sickness and self-isolation issues,” she said.

“Keeping the tips open now would go against government advice on non-essential travel and therefore these sites will remain closed until this advice changes.”

She said she understood their closure was “frustrating” but that the council had seen no increase in fly-tipping incidents when comparing its figures to this time last year.

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