Tips across the country were heaving today as cooped-up Brits rushed out to reopened refuse centres to dump their rubbish for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown.
There were long queues from 7.30am, half an hour before dumps opened, in both Greater Manchester and Northumberland after councils were finally given the green light to open tips after more than a month.
At the waste centre on Reliance Street in Manchester, only vehicles with number plates ending in even numbers were allowed in, as part of a system to control the number of visitors, meaning some people were turned away.
Councils across the country are planning to implement other measures to open their sites in the next few days while ensuring social distancing, including one-way traffic and online booking slots.
However, locals in counties such as Devon and North Yorkshire are among many throughout the UK who will be forced to wait after their councils refused to reopen tips until there is sufficient staffing and PPE for workers.
The decision comes amid a 300 per cent rise in fly-tipping across the UK with crooks taking advantage of the lockdown to illegally dump waste on country roads and at deserted beauty spots.
Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick confirmed on Friday that some tips would reopen this weekend and hoped that more would do so in the coming weeks, adding it was ‘perfectly legal’ for Britons to take waste to the dump.
The Sharston tip in South Manchester was heaving at 8am this morning as refuse centres were opened for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown
Brits gleefully drop off their rubbish at the Reliance Street tip in Manchester, where workers only accepted drivers with number plates ending in even numbers
Brits were finally given the chance to dump rubbish after more than a month of social distancing measures that saw dumps shit down across the country
Around 100 cars queue around the block in Bolton this morning, as a number of councils reopen the tips, giving Brits their first chance in well over a month to drop off rubbish
One visitor opted for a face mask during a visit to Sharston dump this morning, which was among the first dumps in the country to open its gates following lockdown measures
‘There is no reason why you cannot travel to a tip to put household waste there or do recycling. Councils should have the confidence to reopen them as soon as possible,’ he said.
Many councils closed waste facilities because they couldn’t meet social distancing guidelines or were hit by staff absences.
Darlington’s tip in County Durham, was one of the first to reopen this week, with queues of up to an hour and a half, despite the council asking people to only go if essential.
North Yorkshire County Council said it wouldn’t be reopening its tips ‘for public safety and to cut non-essential travel’.
While Derbyshire County Council said it couldn’t say when its services would reopen because of social distancing. Devon County Council also said its centres were closed until further notice.
Measures being taken to help recycling centres open include authorities requiring visitors to show proof of their address in a bid to stop people travelling outside their local area.
Postcode lottery as to which local tips reopen
Greater Manchester Authority – Opening based on odd and even number plates will begin from May 2.
Hampshire County Council – Vehicle limit, reduced hours but no date yet.
Northumberland Country Council – Tips are reopening on Monday 4 May.
Lancashire County Council – Online booking system, unknown when the system will come into force.
Wirral County Council – One-way systems with traffic stewards, the start date is unknown.
Surrey County Council – Restriction on types of waste when sites reopen.
North Yorkshire County Council – Tips stay closed.
Devon County Council – Tips closed.
Derbyshire County Council – Tips open ‘in a few weeks.’
Newport County Council – Landfill site open to commercial businesses.
Cumbria Country Council – All remain closed but situation could change on Monday 4 May.
Leicestershire County Council – Tips are currently closed until further notice.
Norfolk County Council – There are currently 20 tips listed as closed.
Cambridgeshire County Council – closed until further notice.
Lincolnshire County Council – All recycling centres (tips) are now closed until further notice.
Kent County Council – All the tips are closed until further notice.
Nottinghamshire County Council – All Nottinghamshire recycling centres remain closed.
Oxfordshire County Council – All tips are closed until further notice.
Durham County Council – All tips are currently closed.
Shropshire County Council – All our household recycling centres are now closed for an indefinite period due to the coronavirus.
Warwickshire County Council – tips and recycling centres are currently closed.
Wiltshire County Council – All household recycling centres remain closed.
West Sussex County Council – All Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRS) across West Sussex are closed until further notice.
Worcestershire County Council – Both sites are currently closed.
Suffolk County Council – Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) are from Monday 23 March until further notice.
Staffordshire County Council – Recycling centres and tips are currently close.
Somerset County Council – the sites are currently closed.
Hertfordshire County Council- All the household waste recycling centres are closed until further notice, including the Easter Bank Holiday.
East Sussex County Council – The household waste recycling sites are closed until further notice.
Essex County Council – The tips are currently closed. The council said they are looking at re-opening them in the future with the required social distancing.
Greater Manchester Combined Authority are opening ‘based on odd and even number plates,’ according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
A spokeswoman for the authority said that the possibility of introducing a booking system was explored, but to implement it at short notice for 2.5 million residents would have been challenging.
Different restrictions will be put in place at a number of tips across the country.
In Hampshire there will be daily cleaning, a vehicle limit, plus reduced hours.
In Northumberland, council restrictions will be placed on the number of people allowed outside vehicles.
Lancashire will offer an online booking system.
On the Wirral there will be one-way systems with traffic stewards and in Surrey there will be restrictions on the types of waste when its sites reopen.
Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC on Friday that refuse centres could be opened in a ‘staged’ manner.
‘Obviously don’t abuse it, but we know that there’s lots of people with rubbish and recycling and boxes from all those deliveries people are getting piling up in their homes, and it’s right that we manage that and make people’s lives a bit more bearable by getting that out of the house.’
He said that, due to large demand, many councils may opt to reopen their sites in a ‘staged’ manner, adding that this is ‘sensible’ and the ‘right thing to do’.
‘The longer we delay it, the longer those queues are going to be when the waste sites reopen,’ he added.
The re-opening comes as new analysis revealed fly-tipping has increased by 300 per cent during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Researchers from the Universities of Southampton and Portsmouth said the increase in illegal waste dumping has followed the closure of almost all tips.
While at the same time the number of DIY projects has increased by householders stuck at home.
The problem has also been worsened with nearly half of all local authority recycling services in the country having been stopped or reduced, and charity shops being closed and not able to take unwanted goods.
A fly-tipping dumping ground in Wales has so much rubbish it can be seen from space.
Hundreds of car tyres, piles of clothes, suitcases and doors have been scattered across the disused road off the M4 in Newport, South Wales.
Newport’s landfill site is currently only open to commercial businesses.
The researchers also highlight that increased food waste is expected from the £1.9 billion worth of groceries stockpiled by panic-buyers at the start of the crisis.
And the increase in home deliveries is leading to a shortage of cardboard as many households are unable to recycle.
The researchers also point out that the environmental impact of the closures may be worsened with valuable resources having to be extracted that would normally have come from recyclables that have now ended up in landfill.
Professor Ian Williams, of the School of Engineering at the University of Southampton, said: ‘This pandemic has been a wake-up call to governments and the waste sector to ensure that supply chains and markets for recyclates are diverse and resilient.
‘Our current waste management system will need to evolve to be resilient to the impacts of these rare, extreme, global events to create a successful circular economy.’
The closure of a majority of tips due to the coronavirus lockdown and social distancing guidelines has resulted in a spate of fly-tipping incidents in recent weeks.
Not only is fly-tipping illegal but it also means Britons are taking on non-essential travel to dump their rubbish, breaking Government orders to remain inside, risking further spread of the virus.
A woman dumps off household waste at the Reliance Street tip in Manchester, which is among the only tips to have reopened since lockdown in the UK
Workers keep an eye on visitors as councils instructed centres to adhere to strict social distancing measures following their reopening today
A car loaded up with refuse makes its way into Salford refuse centre after it reopened to visitors again following the lockdown
There were long queues at Sharston dumps in Greater Manchester after local councils were given the green light to open refuse sites today
Manchester’s Sharston tip was heaving this morning as cooped-up Brits rushed to reopened refuse centres to dump their rubbish for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown
Brits have been given their first opportunity to clear out rubbish from their homes as lockdown rules are slowly relaxed
Workers were seen keeping their distance from visitors to Salford refuse centre today, where dozens of cars were seen making their way inside at opening time
Cars were seen queuing well ahead of opening time at Sharston tip in Manchester, which is among the first refuse centres in the country to open its gates after lockdown
Sarah Lee of the Countryside Alliance said: ‘The images of fly tipping, though horrendous, are an all too familiar sight.
‘It shouldn’t need saying that driving to dump rubbish is not essential travel.
‘Not only are you committing an offence by littering, but you are also ignoring guidance that has been introduced to stop the spread of this dangerous virus.’
Fly tipping is defined as the illegal dumping of items. Anyone found guilty of doing it could face a £400 fixed penalty notice or an unlimited fine.
However, according to the Countryside Alliance, only one in 600 incidents lead to a prosecution.
Between 2018 and 2019 there were more than one million instances of fly tipping in England, with clean-ups costing between £100million and £150million.
At least 18 councils across England and Wales have moved to three-weekly rubbish collections, with a handful trialling a four-weekly service.
Just one in six councils still have weekly bin collections for non-recyclable waste.
Two workers outside Salford refuse centre prepare to accept visitors after the government informed local authorities that it could reopen tips