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Phased re-opening of recycling centres announced

The phased re-opening of Orkney’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) is set to begin early next week.

In line with the easing of coronavirus restrictions announced recently by the Scottish Government, the HWRCs at Hatston and Garson will open from Tuesday, June 2.

To minimise the risk of Covid-19 infection, there will be changes to the way the two sites operate:

  • They will accept only garden waste initially – with six skips available for this at Hatston and three at Garson.
  • Access will need to be controlled in line with social distancing requirements, with no more than five cars at a time allowed at the Hatston site and three at a time at the Garson site.
  • Visitors are asked to maintain a distance of two meters from all site staff and other users (if not a member of your household) at all times.
  • Due to the need for physical distancing, no assistance can be offered by site staff. Users will need to be able to place their garden waste in the skips, assisted by another member of their household if required.
  • When coming on site there should be no more than two people from the same household in each car.
  • Only single-axle trailers up to 2.4 metres in length will be allowed.
  • ‘Traffic marshalls’ will be present to provide advice about queuing and entering the sites, along with temporary information signs as you approach each site.
  • Drivers are asked to avoid queuing on main roads near the sites, as this will impede other road users, including the emergency services, local businesses, public transport and the wider public.
  • The advice is: if there’s already a queue directly outside the sites, please come again another day.

Both sites will operate from Tuesday to Saturday. Hatston will be open from 9.00am to 3.45pm and Garson from 10.00am to 3.45am. Both will be closed between 12.00pm and 1.00pm.

Andrew Drever, vice-chair of Orkney Islands Council’s Development and Infrastructure Committee, said: “We thank folk for their patience while our sites were closed, as we waited for national advice on essential travel in Scotland to change.

“I hope people will welcome the step-by-step approach we are taking to opening the sites again and understand the need for them to operate differently to the way they did before the pandemic.

“This is to ensure the safety of our staff and visitors to the sites. Limiting the number of cars and visitors on site at any particular time will enable social and physical distancing. We would urge those visiting to stay at least two metres away from staff and from other visitors on site.”

Councillor Drever said: “Both sites are likely to be very busy for the first few days. To avoid the risk of waiting in long queues, we would ask folk to use them only if it is absolutely necessary.

“As a way to spread visits across the week, we are suggesting that you make your visit – if possible – on your normal bin collection day. If your bin collection day is a Monday (when the sites will be closed) we’d suggest that you visit on a Saturday instead.”

He added: “As summer approaches we know that many folk will be keen to dispose of waste from their gardens.

“That’s why we are concentrating on this when the sites re-open as part of the phased approach we are taking. For the time being, no other materials can be disposed of at Hatston or Garson.”

This will be kept under review and, when possible, the sites will start to take other materials as well.

Decisions on opening the other HWRCs – and recycling points in the isles – will be taken at a later date as part of the phased approach the council is taking.

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