A north-east council has confirmed a dozen of its recycling centres will reopen next month with people having to book an appointment to drop off goods.
Aberdeenshire Council said their household recycling facilities will accept bagged general waste, garden waste and electrical items from June 1.
Macduff, Fraserburgh, Ellon, Inverurie, Huntly, Turriff, Westhill, Banchory, Laurencekirk, Portlethen and Redcloak at Stonehaven will be reopen.
The facility in Peterhead will open its doors on June 8 following the completion of essential repairs.
Council bosses said the decision to reopen some of the facilities has been taken in accordance with Government guidelines and is based on measures being put in place to protect both visitors and staff and the agreement of traffic management plans.
To control the volume of vehicles expected at the centres residents will be asked to book a slot online to control the volume of vehicles accessing both the centres and surrounding areas at any one time.
Aberdeenshire Council waste services manager Ros Baxter said: “In order for some of our Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) to reopen, it has been essential that we put appropriate safety measures in place both for your safety and that of our staff, and we urge residents to adhere to these measures.
“The reason for introducing this system is to control the number of visitors to a manageable number each day to ensure social distancing on the sites is observed and the volume of traffic off-site does not cause traffic problems on the local access roads. I would stress that anyone turning up to the sites without a booking will be turned away.
“We hope to reopen the remainder of our HRCs as soon as possible depending on Government guidance and, in the fullness of time, return to a nearly normal service across all of our sites. The booking system will almost certainly be in place for as long as physical distancing measures are required and this may be quite some time.”
Aberdeenshire Council said all of the centres will have clearly-defined unloading bays to ensure strict physical distancing is maintained at all times.
Only one adult should unload a vehicle – unless two adults are needed for heavy items – and staff will be unable to assist with any unloading.
There will be no pedestrian access and no children will be permitted outside vehicles.
During the initial phase, there will be no access for trailers or vans, however these will hopefully be able to be accommodated in the second phase in due course.
General waste will only be accepted if it is bagged.
All garden waste must arrive bagged before being emptied in the appropriate skip. As loose materials take longer to unload and put in a skip, this measure is to make the process quicker and to allow more slots to be made available for residents.
There will be clearly-marked areas to deposit white goods and electrical items.
No other materials – i.e. bulky items, glass, cardboard, wood, metals, textiles and rubble – will be accepted at this stage.
These facilities will operate seven days a week as usual and have extended opening hours from 9am to 6.30pm.
Portlethen will retain its usual 5-day operation with the same extended hours as elsewhere and while opening from Monday, June 1 will close for two days before re-opening on Thursday, June 4 so as not to delay the reopening.
Aberdeenshire Council Leader, Councillor Jim Gifford, said he welcomed the return of the recycling centre.
He said: “I am delighted that 12 out of our 15 Household Recycling Centres are re-opening shortly. We appreciate that some residents may have been struggling to cope with a build-up of additional waste materials and we thank you for your patience.
“Our key focus continues to be on providing our core household waste collections and I want to express my personal thanks for the continuing efforts of all our staff to ensure it is business as usual as far as possible during these unprecedented times.”
Details of the booking system will appear on the Aberdeenshire Council Waste Services website at https://www.aberdeenshire.gov.uk/waste/waste-covid-19/