Residents are being asked to observe the government’s strict social distancing guidelines when the Household Waste & Recycling Centre (HWRC) in Millbrook re-opens on Monday 11 May 2020.
A reduced service will be offered to ensure a safe operating environment on site, with the public being urged to only visit centres if absolutely necessary and to safely store waste at home or dispose of it in kerbside collections wherever possible.
Opening hours will be restricted to 10am-6pm (from 23 May). Only a limited number of vehicles will be allowed on site, with a ‘one in, one out’ system in place, which will be controlled at the gate.
Household and garden waste will be accepted, however it will not be possible to dispose of any form of chargeable waste, such as soil, rubble, sinks, toilets, or plasterboard. Commercial vehicles are permitted as we recognise this might be the only mode of transport for some households. Vans should be bringing no more waste than that which would fit in an average saloon car boot. Vehicles with trailers will not be able to access the site. Restrictions are in place to help maintain staff social distancing and due to some end markets being closed at the current time. The re-use and recycle shop will remain closed.
A restricted number of vehicles will be allowed on site at any one time. Temporary barriers will be installed, with staff with body cameras at the entrance of the site to manage the flow of vehicles. Security staff will be deployed at all sites and there will be a zero-tolerance approach to any form of abuse. Social distancing measures will be in place to ensure that all members of public and staff are two metres apart, at all times.
Residents must empty their own waste into containers and will not be able to get help from staff. Cars that visit the site should ideally have a driver only, no passengers, the driver therefore must be physically able to move their waste singlehandedly. Disabled residents can be accompanied by a household member to help with unloading.
The HWRC in Millbrook is operated as part of a contract involving Southampton, Hampshire and Portsmouth councils. All three authorities, along with Veolia (the company that operates the site), formulated a plan to ensure that all of the centres in Hampshire will operate under firm lockdown limitations to safeguard both staff and visitors.
All the centres in the region were closed on 24 March 2020 in line with lockdown advice regarding essential journeys. Next week’s re-opening will allow residents to dispose of waste that may have been stored over the last six weeks.
Residents who have had COVID-19 symptoms in the last 14 days (or have members of their household who have had symptoms) should not travel to, or enter, an HWRC. After 14 days, any COVID-19 contaminated waste should be double bagged and put aside for 72 hours before being brought to a site. As per government guidelines, residents in the specified vulnerable category (those who are clinically extremely vulnerable, people over 70 and pregnant women) are strongly advised not to visit sites.
Bulky waste collections have been reinstated and can be booked through the council website. Collections will restart on 11 May 2020.
Cabinet Member for Transport & Place, Councillor Jacqui Rayment said: "As HWRCs have reopened in other parts of the country there have been significant delays and queues of people trying to access the sites. I want to be clear that the same can be expected in Southampton and there are likely to be long queues of up to two hours, in the first few days after opening.
“We’re asking residents to only visit the site if absolutely necessary and thank visitors in advance for their patience when following the strict social distancing guidelines that will be in place.
"On behalf of the council I would also like to extend our thanks to residents in the city who have carefully managed their waste since the end of March. I would encourage everyone to make essential journeys only and to continue to safely store their waste wherever possible.”
There will be a traffic management plan in place and a revised entry route to City Depot for those accessing the Hampshire Waste and Recycling Centre from Monday. As normal, there will be no access from First Avenue directly off Millbrook Roundabout.