Council chiefs come under fire over 'slot system at Kirklees tips

Kirklees Council is facing a barrage of questions over plans to introduce a queuing system at municipal tips in the borough.
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The GP-style booking system looks set to be brought in as a method of managing queues.

But critics have warned that it will be “deeply unpopular”.

Liversedge councillor Lisa Holmes said: “This seems to be a plan that wouldn’t bring anything positive to the public we are here to serve.”

Fly tipping incidents increased during the pandemicFly tipping incidents increased during the pandemic
Fly tipping incidents increased during the pandemic
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She added: “Is this a step closer to the council limiting people to a set number of trips per year?”

Coun Rob Walker, the council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, confirmed the scheme was being investigated.

He said: “The council is working with the site operators to assess the best way to manage queues at our household waste and recycling centres, and we thank the public for their patience.

“Any future changes will be well publicised in advance of them coming into operation.”

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Coun Holmes asked why the council was proposing making changes and said: “I feel it will be deeply unpopular and can’t see why it is necessary.

“I’ve only been to the tip one day since last September (twice in one day after cutting garden hedges) and the app which gives waiting times was accurate.

“I had to wait but I knew that and planned accordingly.”

She has asked a series of questions:

* How will the system be managed?

“Some people will take five minutes, some 20 minutes and therefore I don’t see how it could be efficient. Or are you hoping it will balance out? That could go very badly some days. Capacity is already greatly reduced due to social distancing rules.”

* How long in advance are people likely to have to book ?

“Presumably you have average visitor numbers for each site and will base numbers on that. Although I can tell you that most times I’ve been nobody has even checked my registration to see if I was registered, so any historic data you use will be flawed.”

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* Would you only be able to visit once a week like other councils doing this?

“In my case I made two trips in nine months but they needed to be in same day so that would really annoy me.”

* Will there be a penalty for booking and not turning up? Or could people repeatedly book a slot ‘just in case’ without penalty and therefore many slots remain unused?

* Will the slots be opened up at, for example, midnight for the following day or Monday for the coming week? Or will they be open days/weeks in advance?”Those that work Monday-Friday and can only do weekends might have to wait weeks to get one. Also, how can you plan gardening far in advance in this country with the weather we can have?”

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* Is this a step closer to the council limiting people to a set number of trips per year?

She cited Dudley, Cambridgeshire and York councils as examples of local authorities that had already introduced a slot system.

She added: “I am very much against this right now and feel that Kirklees is just following others for no good reason, but I’m open to listening to the rationale.”

The council closed its recycling centres in March when users became aggressive and did not follow social distancing rules.

They were re-opened the following month.

In the intervening period there were reports of a marked increase in fly-tipping on some estates and in remote areas.