Borders council bosses warned of environmental disaster if recycling centres don’t reopen soon
Scottish Borders Council closed its recycling centres at the start of the coronavirus lockdown in March following restrictions being imposed on non-essential travel.
Calls are now growing for them to reopen, as is beginning to happen in parts of neighbouring Northumberland, after a recent spate of flytipping incidents across rural Scotland, though.
However, the council is for the time being sticking to advice from the Scottish Government for them to remain closed on safety grounds.
Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall is calling for a rethink in a bid to avoid what he fears could be an “environmental disaster”.
He said: “The quicker these vital facilities are opened up the better. The calls that I have received in recent weeks regarding fly-tipping have gone through the roof.
“Of course, all of us appreciate and understand why our community recycling centres have been closed, but, to be honest, it is now time for some planning to be done around reopening them.
“With our neighbours in Northumberland now reopening their sites, then I’m sure we in Scotland can learn from their plans on how such a hugely important community facility should be managed during these unprecedented times.
“If we don’t open these recycling centres soon, then I fear we will have a massive environmental disaster on out hands.”
Hawick and Hermitage councillor Watson McAteer added: “With so much time on their hands, householders have been cultivating their gardens, as well as tackling many do-it-yourself jobs that have increased the amount of rubbish.
“Unfortunately, with the Mansfield Road recycling centre closed, options are limited and some selfish people have simply been dumping their rubbish in our beautiful countryside.
“While the local authority binmen continue to do a great job, it would be a step in the right direction if the Borders’ recycling centres could be safely opened as soon as possible.
“I know that Scottish Borders Council is actively considering proposals for reopening the centres when circumstances permit.”
A council spokesperson said: “Our community recycling centres remain closed due to government guidance which indicates residents should only leave their home for very limited reasons.
“The decision to close our recycling centres remains under constant review, and residents will be informed of any changes.
“When recycling centres do reopen, there will be some temporary restrictions in place to help cope with demand but these will be communicated with residents in advance.
“Households should continue to use our kerbside recycling and general waste services, which we have prioritised at this time, with further advice on storing waste at this time available at our website and via Zero Waste Scotland.
“Fly-tipping is an irresponsible act and anyone caught fly-tipping could face a fine of up to £40,000 or six months’ imprisonment.
“Members of the public can play their part in protecting the environment by reporting any incidents of illegal dumping on publicly-owned land to us on 0300 100 1800.
“If residents suspect anyone of dumping on privately-owned land, they can report it at www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/DumbDumpers
“Borderers can also report any incident to Police Scotland on 101 or via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”
See also ...