Discussions ongoing to reopen Kirklees Council tips

Council-run tips in Kirklees look set to be re-opened.

By Tony Earnshaw - Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 4th May 2020, 8:53 am
Updated Monday, 4th May 2020, 10:23 am

Senior figures on the authority are involved in discussions over how the borough’s household waste recycling centres can operate – and how the safety of staff and the public can be ensured.

Councillor Rob Walker, the council’s Cabinet member for Culture and Environment, confirmed talks were on-going.

He said: “Senior officers are working hard to come up with detailed plans so that we can re-introduce opening of these facilities as safely as possible.

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A sign from Kirklees Council saying the Emerald Street municipal tip in Huddersfield is closed.

“This follows agreement by cabinet members that this should happen.”

He added: “We need people to understand how the sites will operate.”

The potential decision represents a turnaround for the council, which initially appeared to defy Government advice on the use and operation of tips.

The authority closed all its tips on March 24 followed “unprecedented” demand over a sunny weekend that led to staff being overwhelmed.

There then followed encouragement from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA), which said councils such as Kirklees could keep their household waste and recycling centres open to allow residents to dispose of bulky waste as long as social distancing guidelines were observed.

Coun Walker said Kirklees took the decision to close household waste sites when it became clear that it was not possible to safely maintain social distancing.

It followed the closure of the Emerald Street tip in Huddersfield by staff with operator Suez following confrontations with members of the public who refused to follow advice on 2m safety rules.

Commenting on the potential for re-opening tips Clr Charles Greaves, who leads the Independent group on Kirklees Council, said a key issue was residents undertaking non-essential journeys.

He commented: “There’s a public health element to not being able to dispose of waste.

“The issue at the Huddersfield tip was that it became a free-for-all.

“What changed for us in Kirklees was that the Government clarified its policy to say that going to the tip was allowed as long as social distancing was observed.

“It said going to the tip could be seen as essential.

“Meanwhile the Local Government Association said it needed to be worked out on a local authority basis.

“I and other group leaders have called for the tips to be re-opened. ”

He added that the council should be clear on what it intends to do.