Kent MPs have teamed up to formally request that Kent County Council reopens waste sites.
Government recently issued guidance on Household and Waste Recycling Centres stating they could remain open with extra controls on social distancing – amid a reported spike in fly-tipping, bonfires and general litter.
I was joined by 12 other Kent MPs in a call to Kent County Council leader Roger Gough for the recycling sites to be re-opened. The 13 Kent MPs who are signatories to the letter are Greg Clark (Tunbridge Wells), Rehman Chishti (Gillingham & Rainham), Tracey Crouch (Chatham & Aylesford), Natalie Elphicke (Dover & Deal), Gordon Henderson (Sittingbourne & Sheppey), Sir Roger Gale (Thanet North), Helen Grant (Maidstone & The Weald), Damian Green (Ashford), Gareth Johnson (Dartford), Craig Mackinlay (South Thanet), Kelly Tolhurst (Rochester and Strood), Laura Trott (Sevenoaks) and Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge & Malling).
The letter to Kent County Council states: “There have been significant reports of fly-tipping. In addition, there have been reports of a sharp increase in the amount of burning of waste in bonfires, which is bad for the environment.
“Many of our constituents do not have the ability to store additional waste long term which inevitably risks further environmental and health hazards.
“Under the latest Government guidance these sites may be open provided that they can be operated safely within social distancing requirements.
“Shops, supermarkets and many council services have already adapted to operate within the new regimes. The re-opening of HWRCs would be a much-needed addition to these other services.”
It’s right that we take all necessary steps to battle the virus and keep safe. But the Government has been clear that there are good reasons to have access to proper waste disposal including at recycling centres, and that they can be managed within social distancing requirements.
As a community we may be in this for the long haul, so we need to be sensible about what we can and can’t reasonably do. That’s why we are asking Kent County Council to decide on a way to re-open the sites safely as soon as possible.