Councils planning for ‘controlled reopening’ of HWRCs

Councils are planning for a “controlled and consistent reopening of HWRCs, managed in line with a government exit strategy”, according to the latest survey results from ADEPT.

HWRCs will be opened in a ‘controlled way’, the survey said

The results from ADEPT – the Association of Directors of Environment, Economy, Planning and Transport – cover the week commencing 13 April and show a 2% increase in the amount of civic amenity sites reporting to be closed, rising to 92%.

Released yesterday (21 April) the weekly survey results are the third carried out into the impact of the pandemic on council waste services.


The data shows that of the 250 councils which responded, a greater level of collection services are operating as normal compared to the previous week.

Residual collections operating as normal have risen by 1% to 90%, with 9% running with minor disruption and 1% reporting severe disruption to services.

Recycling collections operating as normal saw an increase from 76% last week to 78% now, with 19% running with minor disruption and the service being withdrawn in others.

Food waste collections have been disrupted in some places with 9% unavailable, but 70% operating as normal. This is down from 71% the week before.

Around 52% of garden waste collection services are now reported to be operating as normal, up from 48%.

The majority of councils are operating most services as normal


Staff absence

The  number of local authorities reporting no impact from increased staff absences brought on by the coronavirus pandemic fell from 6% to 4% in the latest figures.

However, the number of local authorities seeing a 20-40% reduction has also fallen to 27%, down from 34% last week.

This suggests that the staff absence levels are beginning to fall.


This is the third report published by ADEPT on the impact Covid-19 has had on waste services, in partnership with the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC), the Local Government Association (LGA) and the National Association on Waste Disposal Officers (NAWDO).

Ian Fielding of ADEPT commented on HWRCs

On behalf of these organisations, Chair of ADEPT’s Waste Group, Ian Fielding said: “It is encouraging to see that local authorities are maintaining core waste services with minimal disruption an that councils are able to put resources into tackling fly tipping. We continue to monitor the situation closely, but it still remains the case that fly tipping is undertaken by criminals and unlicensed operators who do not use HWRCs.

“Before they closed in line with essential travel guidance, centres were under immense pressure, reporting increased congestion around sites, staff being abused and social distancing difficult to maintain. We want to avoid public confusion through the piecemeal opening of HWRCs across the country, so local authorities are planning for a controlled and consistent reopening of HWRCs, managed in line with the government exit strategy when it is published.”

Disposal services

The survey reported that Waste Disposal Authorities report that the vast majority of landfill sites and energy from waste plants are operating as normal, (97% and 91%) with nothing beyond “minor disruption”.

This represents an increase from the previous results, where 91% of landfill sites and 86% of EfW plants were reporting to be operating as normal.

The survey concludes that there has been an improvement in the number of fly tipping clearance operations since the last survey found an increase in just over half of local authority areas.

This is 66% versus 61%.

An overview of disposal services


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