29 June 2020 by Joshua Doherty

Minister warns of ‘excessively tight’ HWRC restrictions

The minister for regional growth and local government has written to all English councils thanking them for reopening Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs), but has warned that some “excessive” restrictions are in place.  

Simon Clarke MP, the local government minister and Conservative MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland

Simon Clarke MP sent the open letter — co-signed by recycling minister Rebecca Pow ⁠— to all councils yesterday, June 28.

Examples of excessive measures given by Mr Clarke include the introduction of a limited number of pre-booked slots, and he added that councils should extend access where this can be safely done and keep measures under review 


After thanking councils for their work in reopening the centres, Mr Clarke said: “While the majority of councils have opened tips, there is evidence that some have applied excessively tight restrictions on public access.

“There is evidence that some councils have applied excessively tight restrictions on public access to HWRCs”

Simon Clarke, minister for regional growth and local government

“Of course, it is important to maintain social distancing measures and ensure the health and safety of both the workforce and householders. Councils must also consider the harm to public health and local amenity from fly-tipping which is unfortunately fuelled by lack of access to responsible disposal of waste, and the harm from rubbish piling up in or near people’s homes.  

Therefore, councils should avoid unnecessarily tight restrictions like a limited number of pre-booked slots. Where there are opportunities to improve access and to help householders dispose of waste responsibly then we would encourage you to keep measures under review and to extend access where this can be done safely. 


In the letter, Mr Clarke reiterated previous government advice that there is “no reason in law” why such sites cannot be open and where possible, local authorities should seek to retain access to waste services for their residents to dispose of waste. 

The letter also included advice about public toilets, and said that in both cases, councils have a role to play in clamping down on problems which arise from the closure or restriction of such policies.  

“In both cases, this is not to condone or tolerate irresponsible and illegal behaviour, but councils have a key role in helping prevent such problems thanks to the provision of comprehensive municipal services. It is beneficial to public health to ensure proper access to tips and toilets,” the minister concluded.  

Useful links

The letter can be read in full here.



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