Booking system introduced at Household Recycling Centres
Book a slot in advance or you will be turned away – that’s the message as a new system for accessing Birmingham’s Household Recycling Centres (HRCs) is launched.
A new online booking system has been introduced to access Birmingham’s network of HRCs in recognition of the fact COVID-19 social distancing measures are set to remain in place for the foreseeable future.
Since reopening after government guidance that trips to HRCs were permissible during the ongoing lockdown, lengthy queues and wait times have been experienced in Birmingham.
It was anticipated there would be an initial surge as people sought to dispose of waste created during the pandemic-enforced closure, but wait times have remained in excess of two hours. Safe working practice on the sites mean the number of cars that can enter the sites at any one time will be restricted for the immediate future.
The new website booking system, based on one operated successfully in Leeds, is now open and residents who use the website system can reserve slots for later this week from Thursday (June 11) onwards.
From June 11, only those with a booking, linked to the registration plate of their vehicle, will be permitted access to the HRCs, with no exceptions. Additionally, each vehicle will be restricted to one booking per week.
As this booking system is being introduced as an emergency queue mitigation measure, it will only be available online. Anyone who does not have access to the internet is advised to ask friends or family to help arrange bookings for them.
And in a further update to help residents manage their waste, the opening hours at all sites are being extended to the normal summer hours from June 11, as follows:
Weekdays (Monday to Friday)
Tyseley, Perry Barr, Kings Norton & Sutton Coldfield HRCs: 8am-8pm
Weekends (Saturday and Sunday)
Tyseley, Perry Barr, Kings Norton: 8am-6pm
Sutton Coldfield: 8am-4pm
As a result of the ongoing restricted access, vans are still not permitted at any site, but the situation is being reviewed regularly and access for such vehicles will be granted in due course on a pre-booked basis. Charges will apply to businesses, as per before the lockdown.
Please note that the Castle Bromwich HRC is still closed due roadworks in the nearby area, with an update on its re-opening date expected soon – and once open, it will also be part of the new pre-booking system.
Cllr John O’Shea, Cabinet Member for Street Scene and Parks at Birmingham City Council, said: “We were clear from the outset that people should only visit our HRCs if it was absolutely essential and had hoped that queues would reduce the longer the HRCs were open - but that has not been the case.
“We know clean streets and waste management are important issues for the people of the city, so we have reviewed what is possible and have identified a proven scheme that will bring certainty for those who are planning a trip to our HRCs.
“Nobody wants to have to wait up to five hours to dispose of their waste and this booking system will help us end that frustration, triggered by the unprecedented circumstances we face as a result of the pandemic.
“We’ve also listened to those residents and businesses around the sites and we hope that this will significantly reduce the impact on them too.
“I’d still urge people to think before booking – is their trip absolutely essential? As with the re-opening of fast food outlets, other shops and the relaxation of travel restrictions, we know that there is a surge in demand for anything new or re-opened during this crisis, so I would ask people to be patient as I don’t expect the slots to remain empty for long.
“The key message for everyone is clear – if you do not have a booking to visit our HRCs from June 11, please do not turn up and hope to get in. You will be turned away.
“More broadly, I hope the people of Birmingham continue to follow the advice and guidance which restricts the spread of coronavirus so we can get back to normal at our HRCs and other aspects of daily life as quickly as possible.”
Mark Powell, General Manager at Veolia, said: “We understand the pandemic has presented some challenges in the way people dispose of their waste and recycling across the HRC sites and continue to work with Birmingham City Council to explore alternative ways to improve access to our services.
“Residents’ patience is appreciated whilst we adapt to make these changes. We have been working behind the scenes on implementing an online booking system with the aim that it will reduce the waiting time considerably.
“We would like to remind visitors to observe social distancing when on-site to help keep the city and our teams safe during these unprecedented times.”