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Recycling centres across Scotland could reopen in a fortnight after local authorities reach agreement

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Local recycling centres across Scotland are expected to reopen in two weeks’ time.

The Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (Cosla) has agreed that councils should plan to reopen centres on June 1, with a uniform approach being taken across the country to avoid confusion.

Recycling centres have been closed during lockdown as part of measures aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19.

Ross Vettraino, the convener of Fife Council’s environment and protective services committee, said steps would be taken to protect the public and council staff.

And he said traffic management would present an “enormous problem”.

“Arrangements are in place to reopen some of Fife’s recycling centres, as soon as the Scottish Government advises that the scientific medical evidence indicates that it is safe to do so,” said Mr Vettraino.

“The council understands that these are extremely challenging times for very many people, but the council’s top priority is to ensure that both the community at large and the council’s staff are kept safe.

“Accordingly, council officers, in conjunction with Police Scotland and the trades union and staff, have developed plans, which secure social distancing and traffic management, to enable the safe reopening of some of the council’s recycling centres as soon as the scientific advice is that it is safe to do so.

“The council will continue to work in partnership with the Scottish Government and other local authorities with a view to ensuring that plans are consistent with the latest guidelines and the approach is consistent throughout Scotland.”

Mr Vettraino added that Fife Council’s website would be updated and local media outlets informed once reopening dates were confirmed.

“Reopening of the first phase of recycling centres is expected within the next two to three weeks,” he said.

“Until then, the community is requested to continue to use the kerbside recycling service for as much household waste as possible. Fife Council is currently picking up all household kerbside waste and recycling bins, and the community recycling point network continues to be serviced.”

Council leaders from across Scotland met on Friday, when it was agreed that recycling centres should reopen on June 1.

However, this is subject to change.

Councillor Steven Heddle, Cosla’s environment and economy spokesman, said: “The reopening of sites depends on receiving assurance that this will not negatively impact the Covid-19 infection rate and will be consistent with national travel advice.

“There will also be local considerations including the need to maintain physical distancing for staff and members and public which will determine whether and to what extent individual sites will be able to reopen.

“The intent behind this decision is to provide a level of coordination across Scotland, to avoid a disjointed approach which could lead to confusion, and to ensure access to household waste recycling sites is managed to best ensure the safety of both staff and the public.

“We are working closely with the Scottish Government and partners on this and are drawing up guidance.”

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