Hopes rising in Borders of recycling centres reopening soon

Recycling centres across the Borders are expected to reopen within weeks amid reports of an upsurge in fly-tipping in the region.

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson at the Eshiels recycling centre near Peebles.
Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson at the Eshiels recycling centre near Peebles.

The Scottish Government has yet to confirm any move to reopen waste and recycling sites, though it has promised to reveal further details of its lockdown exit strategy today, May 21.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) is proposing that recycling facilities open their doors to the public again on Monday, June 1, however.

If that recommendation is taken on board by ministers, it will address concerns raised over a spike in fly-tipping across the region since the centres closed on Tuesday, March 24.

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said that if the June 1 date gets the go-ahead, any reopening will be accompanied by various temporary restrictions.

They would include traffic control measures to help manage an expected increase in use, at least in the short term.

The council spokesperson said: “We are aware that a June 1 reopening of recycling centres across Scotland has been proposed by Cosla subject to Scottish Government approval.

“Members of the public should be aware that a number of temporary restrictions will be in place once recycling centres reopen which will aim to ensure the safety of staff and public and help the facilities cope with demand.

“These restrictions will be communicated in advance of the reopening of the recycling centres.”

Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall has been one of those calling for the centres to reopen, and he’s pleased that now looks to be imminent.

He said: “ I think the news that our recycling centres will hopefully all be open again by June 1 will be welcomed by many and, if nothing else, it is certainly the right first step on the long road to restoring a degree of normality within our communities.

“There can be no doubt that whilst closing these vital facilities was completely understandable, they have been a huge miss to many households.

“It’s very sad indeed to have witnessed, as a direct result of closing our centres, our beautiful countryside become a dumping ground for those who have chosen to discard their waste and unwanted household items.

“The huge rise in fly-tipping during lockdown will, I’m sure, have come with a massive cost to taxpayers, let alone our environment, so reopening these important facilities will certainly be great news for us all.”

Hawick and Hermitage councillor Davie Paterson contacted the council recently about furniture dumped in the town’s Back Braes, apparently to create an a outdoor drugs den.

He said: “The place is being used by some drug users who wanted to be comfy when they were taking their drugs. I have informed the police and they are monitoring the place, but they can’t be everywhere.”

Mr Paterson also warned against possibly reopening the centres with reduced hours of access, saying: “If the council do open the recycling centres on June 1, as they are planning in other areas, I have concerns with this if it were for a limited period or for limited hours a day.

“If folk are at the end of a massive line and it is time for the recycling centres to be closed, it would cause a lot of frustration.

“I am perfectly okay with the mills and other places of work opening again, as long as you can offer staff social distancing, so that employees are safe when they go to their work and not worrying if they are going to get Covid-19.

“If the council can demonstrate that social distancing can be observed at all times and workers’ lives are not in danger, what is the problem with opening the recycling centres?

“I think everyone has been getting complaints about fly-tipping since the centres have been closed.”

“The latest in my ward was a chair being dumped over the Back Braes, close to the school.”