LAST week the First Minister confirmed that the regulations would be amended to allow travel to recycling sites when they are eventually reopened.
But the body that represents Wales’ 22 local authorities has made it clear that while the new measures allow councils to re-open sites, they are “unlikely to do so immediately” as each local authority assesses the current situation.
The Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) stresses that decision makers will use their own discretion to decide if it is safe to do so, depending on the situation in their area.
According to Cllr Andrew Morgan of Rhondda Cynon Taf, the leader of the WLGA, councils have agreed together that they will need to have confidence in adequate staffing levels, health and safety compliance, and consultation with trade unions before they can re-open.
“Since the beginning of the lockdown, the government’s message has been clear that we should all stay at home except for very limited reasons,” he said.
“While the First Minister has confirmed plans to permit journeys to recycling centres, it will be for each local authority to decide when is safe to open the sites in their areas.”
“Councils are working together, and with the Police, Welsh Government and Trade Unions, to explore how the facilities can be adapted to comply with current Coronavirus rules.
“The safety of the public and staff remains our top priority. Although we know that some have experienced inconvenience, local authorities are determined to ensure that sites in each area will only reopen when it is safe to do so, and when residents can feel confident in using them again.”
As a result, the 22 local authorities have agreed a common set of criteria that will need to be met before they can consider the safe re-opening of recycling sites.
The WLGA critera includes:
- An appropriate level of staff available to operate the facilities.
- That the sites can comply with stringent health and safety requirements including sanitisation, social distancing and the implications for traffic management.
- Trade Unions are being consulted to agree the basis for any reopening and operation of the centres.