Kent’s residents have made full use of the new booking system for the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs).
Over 26,000 slots were booked for the first nine days of availability with new slots being released a day at a time to maintain the nine-day window.
Over 11,000 visits were made to Kent’s 18 HWRCs in the first four days of opening using 97% of available capacity.
The HWRCs have been reconfigured so that people using them can stay the requisite two metres social distance from each other and the staff.
Opening hours are also reduced to 9am to 3pm to allow time for enhanced cleaning.
This has reduced capacity to about a third of pre Covid-19 levels.
The booking system has been vital in making sure the sites did not have more people queuing to get in than there was capacity to deal with under the new arrangements.
KCC Cabinet Member for Environment Susan Carey said: “It’s been a great effort to get the new system in place to make sure the HWRCs can operate with social distancing.
“I’d like to thank all involved from our own staff and contractors as well as the Kent residents who have shown patience with the booking system and queuing at some sites. Feedback overall is that it has worked very well.
“We are adjusting the booking slots to help with queuing at Pepperhill, Dover, Swanley and Margate where unloading was particularly slow and releasing more slots where turnround times are quicker.”
The HWRCs are accepting the usual range of waste including chargeable items and normal arrangements are in place to apply for restricted vehicle vouchers.
There is no entrance without a booking.
Residents can only book one trip in any four-week period to share capacity fairly.
No one should travel to an HWRC with symptoms of Covid-19 and once on site they must follow social distancing guidelines.
Visitors are being asked to wear gloves and to pack their vehicles so that they can be unloaded quickly. Staff are unable to assist with unloading.
Government guidance has now been updated and trips to HWRCs can now be made under any circumstances, not just where waste presents a risk of injury or to health.
Susan added: “I’m particularly grateful to those who have stored their waste waiting for this easing of the lockdown arrangements. Reducing waste and recycling what can’t be re-used all helps our environment.”
To see where and when sites are open, visit www.kent.gov.uk/hwrcbook where you can also book your slot.
People can also book a slot by phone on 03000 417373.