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Fears that Bristol tips booking system will cause 'explosion in fly-tipping'

By Adam Postans

A new booking system for Bristol’s rubbish tips could cause an “explosion in citywide fly-tipping”, a councillor fears. Residents will have to book a slot before visiting household recycling centres from June 6.

This will replace the current vehicle registration plate system brought in during the pandemic to manage numbers and encourage social distancing. City council-owned Bristol Waste says the new way of working will reduce queues, waiting times and emissions from stationary traffic.

But Bishopsworth ward Tory Cllr Richard Eddy is concerned it will create inconvenience and see householders turned away if they are late to arrive because of traffic, with cars-full of rubbish being dumped by the roadside instead of taken back home. He said: “Although the new Hartcliffe Way household recycling centre is opening later this summer, and in March Conservative councillors forced the mayor to agree a reduction in the charge of the bulky household waste collection service, I truly fear this ill-thought-out booking system will lead to an explosion in citywide fly-tipping.

Read more: Date for recycling centre booking and everything you need to know about the big switchover

“Already, during the covid pandemic, we have experienced a massive rise in littering and fly-tipping. If Bristolians are forced to accept a booking system where they cannot be assured of taking recyclable items to the tip at a specified time and may be turned away, I can foresee a huge upsurge in Bristolians leaving their waste illegally elsewhere.”

He said the council’s “fanfare of extravagant claims” about the benefits of the new system should be treated with caution because it could make life more difficult for residents. "Immediately following the lifting of previous covid lockdowns, clearly it was necessary to ration access to the council’s household recycling facilities and an alternating car-registration system worked as an emergency solution,” opposition Cllr Eddy said.

“However, as the country gradually emerges from the pandemic, the imposition of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ booking system seems excessively bureaucratic and is likely to lead to impersonal inconvenience for Bristolians. For example, if a citizen is travelling halfway across the city to a recycling centre then congestion and numerous other factors may make them late and they could easily miss the booked spot.

“If they turn up slightly late to a booked appointment, are they going to be turned around and rejected, returning home with a car full of recyclable waste? “I am also gravely concerned that, before introducing this system, the council or Bristol Waste never bothered to consult with the very people who are most important – our customers.

“Surely the views of Bristolians should have been considered first before the council and Bristol Waste plumped for this new automated booking system.” A Bristol City Council spokesperson said: “The new booking system launching on May 23 will help manage the heavy demand on the city’s household reuse and recycling centres.

“It will reduce queues, drive down emissions from queuing vehicles, ensure a smoother on-site experience for our residents and prevent any unnecessary journeys to the centres. We have received complaints about all of these issues from residents in the past and the new system has been designed to address these.

“It’s quick and simple to use, and enables residents to book up to two weeks in advance, or as little as one hour before their visit. As with any journey a degree of planning will be needed to ensure arrival on time, however staff at the centres will do their best to accommodate residents where late arrivals are unavoidable.

“We have seen the system work really well in local authorities across the country, as well as neighbouring areas including Bath & North East Somerset and Gloucestershire and Swindon, but we will review the system as it is rolled out. A new reuse and recycling centre on Hartcliffe Way is due to open in the coming months. Once complete, the centre will be the third recycling site in Bristol and will help to reduce demand and congestion at the two existing sites, as well as provide a closer option for South Bristol residents.”

Booking opens on May 23 for the St Philips and Avonmouth tips at www.bristol.gov.uk/bookrecycling or by phoning 0117 922 2100 between 8.30am and 6pm Monday to Friday, except 12pm to 1.30pm on Wednesdays.

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