Three of the county's household waste recycling centres (HWRCs) will temporarily open for an additional day - on Mondays - to help cater for the current increased usage seen during the pandemic.
The measure will be introduced at the sites in Kettering, Rushden and Sixfields from Monday, March 29 and will last for a period of three months.
Demand for the HWRCs has remained high throughout the Covid-19 pandemic –thought to be because residents have had more time at home to 'spring clean' do DIY, and to garden, which all generate waste.
The social distancing measures which are required by government's guidance to be in place at all HWRC sites means that fewer vehicles are able to unload at any one time, and this slows throughput. As a result, at peak times, queues of vehicles waiting to access the sites can impact the highway.
Opening on an additional day aims to give people more choice of when to visit the sites, thereby reducing the volume of visits at any given time.
However residents are reminded that in line with government guidance, journeys should only be made if essential.
If a trip to the site is needed there are ways the number of visits can be reduced and visits made quicker:
- Consider if waste can be safely stored at home
- Make fewer visits but with larger loads
- Separate waste into different recyclable materials before a visit to make unloading faster
While the measures are being introduced by Northamptonshire County Council, after April 1 both West Northamptonshire Council and North Northamptonshire Council will continue with the extended opening.
The other six sites in the county – Corby, Brixworth, Daventry, Ecton Lane, Towcester and Wellingborough – are all currently open on Mondays.
Cllr Jason Smithers, county council cabinet member for transport, highways and waste, said:
We're seeing increased volumes of traffic at our HWRCs and while Spring is normally a busy time it has been greatly exacerbated by the current pandemic.
I'm delighted that we can temporarily extend the opening hours at three of the HWRCs to help alleviate the problem. However the demand is such that we would anticipate the sites to still be very busy, particularly as the weather starts to improve.
In line with Government guidance to keep everyone safe, I encourage residents to stay at home and avoid attending the sites unless it is absolutely necessary."
Cllr Steven North, North Northants shadow authority member for Planning, Strategic Planning, Regulatory and enforcement services, said:
In our area both Kettering and Rushden are very popular sites so coming up to the Easter weekend and the Spring bank holidays it makes absolute sense for us to continue this extended opening, particularly at the moment with the current pandemic."
Cllr Phil Larratt, West Northants shadow authority member for Highways and Waste, said:
We were very keen to continue with this extended opening day at the Sixfields site after vesting day as it's essential that we cater for this increased volume at the site. Spring is by far the busiest time of year at the HWRCs so it makes sense to introduce this temporary measure meeting the needs of our residents."