Leader of Cheshire West and Chester Council, Cllr Louise Gittins (Lab), said on Thursday April 30th:
“We took the difficult decision to close the borough’s Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) early in the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of our customers and staff.
“This decision was taken in line with Government’s legal position set out in the Coronavirus Act 2020 and stay at home guidance. It states that trips to centres were not classed as essential travel by law. We have also seen staff shortages in relation to our waste services due to Covid-19 and disruption in the onward chain for recycling.
“Government announced this week that it expects all HWRCs to open over the next few weeks. We welcome this intention and are working hard to restart waste services but can only do so if it is safe and legal.
“Our residents have been absolutely amazing at staying at home, supporting the NHS and staying safe throughout this pandemic and I want to thank each and every person for their actions as we continue to tackle this virus together. I know it’s been a difficult time for so many people and we are working around the clock to support you, especially our more vulnerable residents.
“We are asking all residents to bear with us while we review our position, taking in to consideration any new regulations, as we all continue to work together to minimise the spread of the virus. The health and wellbeing of our residents and staff will remain at the forefront of our decisions.
“We have to focus our attention and resources where they are most needed. Currently vehicles and staff from the garden waste service are being used to maintain our vital recycling and domestic waste collections. The health, wellbeing and safety of staff is our highest priority and the measures we have put in place mean they can safely continue to do their jobs, in line with national guidelines and best practice.
“We are proud of our dedicated waste collection staff who have allowed us to maintain this service on the normal collection timetable and are inspired by the wonderful messages of support they are receiving from residents across our borough.
“We know that suspending garden collections has caused some issues for residents as more people spend time at home. We are doing our very best to resume collections but in the meantime we are asking residents to hold their garden waste safely in their green bin or in a suitable bag at home. Now is also a great time to try home composting – we have some useful tips on our website.
“We would like to thank residents for their patience and understanding during this very difficult period. We do not know how long COVID-19 will affect services but please be assured we are do everything we can to restart garden waste collections and reopen Household Waste Recycling Centres as soon as safe and practical."