FROM today household waste and recycling centres in Hampshire will be opening for longer.

Hampshire County Council will be extending opening hours of all its centres to 6pm.

Councillor Rob Humby, the deputy leader and executive member for economy, transport and environment at Hampshire County Council, urged people to consider whether they trip to the centre is needed after seeing "significant" traffic queues since the centre's reopened.

He said: “With new measures in place at HWRCs for safe social distancing, the number of vehicles we can have on site at any one time is much less than before the coronavirus outbreak.

"Therefore, I would ask people to consider if they really do need to take their waste to an HWRC at this time. We have seen significant traffic queues in the last two weeks since the HWRCs reopened, which have impacted on local people trying to get to work as well as having a detrimental impact on the ability of businesses nearby to get back up and running.

“From Saturday (May 23), the HWRCs will be open until 6pm every day, which will allow more vehicles to pass through, but, if there are queues when people arrive, I would urge them to follow our traffic management directions and queue responsibly.

"Please obey the signs in place, especially the do not queue beyond this point signs as well as keeping entrances and junctions clear. The signs and other traffic measures are there for road safety reasons. Please consider the impact on others – local residents, businesses neighbouring HWRCs on industrial estates who are trying to get back up and running, and, most importantly, the safety of others using the roads."

Cllr Humby said there had also been reports of verbal and physical abuse occurring against staff at the sites - including staff being spat at.

He added: “While we understand that residents may be frustrated by the queues, it is disappointing and alarming to hear of reports of verbal and physical abuse occurring against site staff - including staff being spat at. Where incidents of this nature occur or queuing traffic is potentially becoming dangerous, we will have no option but to consider closing these HWRCs in order to keep site staff, other road users and residents safe.

“With the majority of waste coming to the sites being green garden waste, we are encouraged that our colleagues in those districts that suspended green waste collections are considering restarting them, and we ask residents to consider using the kerbside green waste collections offered by their District or Borough Council as well as home composting as an alternative.”

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