A LOCAL authority which closed its household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) in response to coronavirus is facing calls to find ways to reopen them following a spike in fly-tipping incidents.

District councils, including Hambleton and Richmondshire, in North Yorkshire have said despite appeals issued by North Yorkshire County Council not to fly-tip earlier this month, their staff had faced cleaning up increasing volumes of household and garden waste.

Richmondshire District Council said its officers are dealing with a three-fold increase in fly-tipped waste.

In the last three weeks members of the authority’s street scene team have had to pick up 30 lots of dumped waste.

Meanwhile Hambleton District Council has seen 18 fly-tipping incidents since April 1 – more than one a day.

“We are diverting much needed street cleansing resources to picking up waste tipped by irresponsible and anti social individuals,” said Richmondshire council director Colin Dales.

He added: “Despite the situation we are in at the moment we will continue to prosecute fly tippers.”

Richmond district and county councillor Stuart Parsons said there was a clear and obvious link between the county council’s “knee-jerk reaction” to close its 20 HWRCs in March and the rise in fly-tipping.

He added the district council’s recycling banks were becoming a dumping ground for excess domestic waste that would normally be taken to the HWRCs and some of the licensed waste collectors had got to the limit of what they could store.

Cllr Parsons said: “The county council could run the centres by allowing just one vehicle in at a time, ensuring their staff are kept two metres apart, or by district councils collecting such waste and taking it to HWRCs.

“There has to be a cheaper way than cleaning up contaminated land.”

Earlier this month the county council urged householders to reduce the amount of waste they create while the HWRCs are closed and kerbside collection services are under pressure as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.

The council’s executive member for waste management Councillor Andrew Lee said the authority’s approach was “safety first at all times”, but added it was monitoring the situation and is holding talks with district councils about managing waste.

He said: “If there’s a way of reopening the sites that would maintain the protection against the virus we would explore all possibilities.”

He said it was unacceptable for people to use the fact that HWRCs are closed as an excuse for fly-tipping.

Cllr Lee said: “We are in a crisis situation.

“The HWRCs were closed for the sole intention of helping stop the spread of the virus and to save lives.

“We have staff at the sites and have their welfare to consider as well as the welfare of the people visiting the sites. It might seem the best time for people to undertake household projects, but people shouldn’t embark on projects that are going to generate large amounts of waste if they don’t have the space to store it.”