Huge queues at Lancaster and Carnforth recycling centres as council advises only 'essential' visits

Limits on the number of people using waste and recycling centres at any one time have created hour long waits for some people waiting to dispose of their waste.

Thursday, 18th March 2021, 2:51 pm
Updated Thursday, 18th March 2021, 2:52 pm

One Carnforth resident, who did not wish to be named, said they visited Carnforth Waste and Recycling Centre on a Tuesday afternoon, only to find it closed, and then drove to the Lancaster site where they sat in a queue for nearly an hour.

They said two recycling centres serving the whole of the district wasn't enough.

"It kind of defeats the object when you're trying to do your bit and recycle and you end up in a queue full of vehicles going back to the car park at Salt Ayre, all with their engines on, waiting to recycle," they said.

The queue at Lancaster Waste and Recycling Centre heading back towards Salt Ayre Leisure Centre.

"Surely there's a better system that allows people to get through quicker.

"If they're wearing a mask outside to drop off their waste it's only like walking down the street and it shouldn't be too much of a risk in terms of Covid."

Another resident said they sat in a queue for 45 minutes at Carnforth waiting to drop off garden waste, and argued the site should be open on more days than it currently is to allow for all the extra people visiting.

Lancaster Waste and Recycling Centre is open seven days a week between 9am and 5pm.

Traffic queues at Lancaster Waste and Recycling Centre.

Carnforth Waste and Recycling Centre, in Scotland Road, is open Thursday to Monday between 9am and 5pm.

Lancashire County Council said that restrictions in place are needed to ensure people can visit safely and maintain social distancing while the pandemic is still ongoing.

Steve Scott, Lancashire County Council head of waste management, said: "The measures are consistent with the priority of the current lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus.

"These restrictions limit the number of people who can use the sites at any one time, so our main message to people remains to please only visit if it really is essential, and otherwise keep hold of any extra waste that won't go in your doorstep waste collection for now.

"Spring is always the busiest time of year at our recycling centres as people begin working on their homes and gardens, however the queues which people could usually expect to encounter at peak times such as evenings and weekends will potentially be longer at the moment due to the extra restrictions.

"We have a plan in place for a phased easing of restrictions at the recycling centres in line with the government's coronavirus roadmap, and all being well we will be able to begin lifting them in the coming weeks which will allow more people to visit at any one time.

"The opening hours and capacity of our network of recycling centres is designed to provide people with a good level of service during normal times, and we're grateful for people's patience and cooperation until we are out of the pandemic."