A review of arrangements – including a public consultation exercise last year which received 4000 responses – has been carried out, and a report due to go before the council’s infrastructure services committee next week recommends the booking system stays in place.
The report says that while the original purpose of the system was to manage the social distancing requirements during Covid by limiting the number of customers allowed on site at any one time, the retention of the booking system continues to bring significant operational and customer benefits.
• Site usage spread more evenly over opening hours, allowing staff to take proper breaks;
• Ability to communicate directly with customers who have booked slots if there is an operational requirement to close a site;
• Data on the efficiency of the sites to assist with planning future service provision;
• Evidence of abuse of the HRCs by traders (system has already been used to intercept traders by using this data ensuring that disposal is paid for);
• Ability to control level of use and manage the number of customers onsite at any given time improving safety;
• Guaranteed slots;
• Easier access to skips;
• Less traffic disruption/congestion on the busy sites and queuing on surrounding roads during peak times.
The report also says the booking system allows for safer pedestrian access to sites at specific times. Prior to the booking system pedestrians could access sites anytime, but there was a health and safety risk with traffic in at the same time. With dedicated pedestrian times, this removed that risk.
The report goes on to say the recommendations support Increased recycling rates, reductions in tonnage going to landfill and also instances of fly tipping.
Improvements to the booking system are recommended, including clearer instructions on website, autofill of details to avoid duplication, time slots being available first prior to completion and the introduction of shorter notice availability of time slots.
There’s also a recommendation for an increase in the number of vehicles per time slots at busier sites. The council’s household recycling centres currently receive around 50,000 bookings each month.