A TOWN has reopened its tip, in contrast with others in the North-East.

Darlington’s Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) reopened yesterday, Tuesday, April 28, seven days a week from 8am to 4.30pm but strict social distancing is in place, which significantly reduced its capacity. Darlington Council urges people to use it as a last resort.

Residents in Stockton and Middlesbrough rely on the facility at Haverton Hill, which is operated by SUEZ recycling and recovery UK.

The company shut the site last month and it remains closed until further notice, due to high numbers of visitors and people not adhering to social distancing advice.

Now Stockton Council has confirmed the centre off the A1046 will reopen this Sunday for residents in the borough, with social distancing will be “strictly enforced” and staff unable to help with unloading. 

Appointments are available from 8am to 7pm, seven days a week. The first half hour slot available at 8am this Sunday, May 3.

Officials have stressed visits are by appointment only – and are open only to cars.

However, John Scanlon, from SUEZ, last week hinted at a partial reopening and says it is working with councils. He said centres that reopen may only accept “critical materials” to start with, such as garden waste, wood or general household rubbish.

Prior to this, Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston and Stockton Council leader Bob Cook confirmed they were in talks to try and find a solution at Haverton Hill after waste collection services continue to be stretched.

Leader of Stockton Council, Cllr Bob Cook said: “Like many local authorities, we have seen increased levels of flytipping since the closure of the Haverton Hill Household Waste and Recycling Centre and the increase in lockdown spring cleaning and home improvement activity.

“While we continue to take action against flytippers, we are also in discussions with SUEZ about restoring access to the centre.”

Stockton Council has reinstated bulky waste collections, with safer collection and disposal processes but expect demand to be very high so people are likely to experience long waits for an appointment.

Durham County Council's tips remain closed with the decision to be reviewed in the future.

In North Yorkshire, tips also remain closed to discourage non-essential travel but the authority continues to evaluate the situation.

Ian Fielding, the council's assistant director of waste management, said: “Household waste recycling centres remain closed for public safety and to cut non-essential travel. If guidance is changed then we will reconsider how and when to open sites.The choice to close was one we made together with almost every other council in England. We understand that HWRCs are a popular and important service, we want to see them open and will do so as soon as we can.”

“During this lockdown period we are asking people to minimise their waste as much as possible. For instance, please do not begin DIY or gardening projects if you don’t have space to store that waste until the HWRCs are able to reopen.

“Do not be tempted to fly tip. It is an offence punishable by fines or imprisonment and offenders will be prosecuted.

Redcar & Cleveland Councillor Barry Hunt, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and environment, said plans are being made to reopen the local authority’s tip but does not have a time estimate.

He said: “Plans are being prepared as we work towards the reopening of Dunsdale Household Waste and Recycling Centre.

“Our priority is the safety of our residents and our crew, so we are making sure the correct safety measures are in place before opening the doors back open to the public. We are asking for people’s patience and understanding during this time.”