THE number of visitors to Dorset’s tips, including sites in Shaftesbury and Sherbourne, is on the rise as lockdown measures continue to relax.

Dorset Council reopened its household recycling centres (HRCs) last month, and since May 11 there has been more than 113,000 visits to tips across the county.

It has been recorded that visitors are making multiple trips each week, with some visiting more than once a day.

Now the authority is asking visitors to reconsider the necessity of their trip, and has suggested those who need to visit the tip try and avoid peak times.

Bespoke arrangements have been made at Sherborne HRC, in West Mill Lane, to cope with queuing traffic, and other measures may need to be introduced at other sites to address emerging access problems, should visitor numbers continue to rise.

Councillor Tony Alford, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for customer, community and regulatory services, has urged those visiting to come later in the day, and avoid Mondays and Tuesdays.

He added: “HRCs were reopened to help residents who could not store their waste safely at home. But while all sites across the county are operating, normal service has not resumed as we need to make sure visitors can socially distance at our HRCs, which restricts the number of people we can safely accommodate at any given time.

“There should be relatively few cases where waste cannot be stored safely for a week, so there is little need for people to visit more frequently. Therefore, please consider whether your journey to an HRC is essential now.”

All ten of Dorset Council’s HRCs are running at 50 per cent capacity as social distancing measures remain in effect, meaning half the amount of parking spaces are available at each site.

To manage queues, volunteers and redeployed council employees were brought in to ‘meet and greet’ visitors, explain how to negotiate the new site restrictions and help prevent traffic problems.

As more council services prepare to reopen and employees return to their regular roles however, the county council fears the rising numbers of visitors at HRCs will start to create accessibility problems for residents and businesses.

Cllr Alford added: “It would be regrettable to introduce further measures to ration access, so if we keep queuing traffic to a minimum, we can make sure as many people as possible can drop off their waste without causing issues for others.”