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‘Hope dump petition gathers momentum

The South Ronaldsay dump remains closed due to COVID-19 regulations.

A petition urging Orkney Islands Council (OIC) to reopen the recycling centre in St Margaret’s Hope has garnered hundreds of signatures from angry and frustrated residents.

Despite pressure from residents, and offers of assistance from the South Ronaldsay and Burray Community Council, the household waste recycling centre (HWRC) remains closed, forcing residents to undertake a round trip of more than 30 miles to dump their rubbish.

An online petition has attracted close to 400 signatures, and paper copies are also in South Ronaldsay and Burray shops and hotels.

The petition has been started by the community council, and at the end of August, its chairwoman, Julie Woodhead, spoke out over the issue, saying that the local community were being treated like fools.

Issues cited by the council, as to why the HWRC remains closed, centre on physical distancing regulations, driver shortages, staff welfare facilities, insurance, and trade union agreements.

In an attempt to resolve the issue, one of the area’s three councillors, Steve Sankey, has met with key OIC officials and elected members.

In a statement, he said: “Following an offer by the South Ronaldsay and Burray Community Council, the legal implications of the use of volunteers to help overcome traffic management and social distancing is being considered, as are other suggestions from the community such as a reduction in opening hours and a reduction in the types of waste accepted.

“Ongoing physical distancing requirements mean that OIC Waste Services are having to use a greater number of vehicles to deliver services, putting strain on driver resources.

“However, they assure me that they are working hard to make sure that as many services as possible can be delivered to the widest range of Orkney residents during this difficult time. This includes looking at ways to reopen additional HWRCs and adequately restore the provision of recycling facilities in the Isles as quickly as is reasonably practical.”

The online petition can be found here.