Demand for action over long queues at Burgess Hill’s rubbish tip

A demand for immediate action over long queues at Burgess Hill’s rubbish tip has been made by Lib Dems.

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 12:54 pm

Because of the current Covid-19 restrictions, the town’s Household Waste Recycling Site is currently at capacity with vehicles queuing all day, every day. These often stretch back to the London Road roundabout.

This situation is replicated across West Sussex, with the county council bringing in a booking system at several other sites including Shoreham, Horsham and Crawley ahead of a ‘spring surge’.

Last week, Lib Dem county councillor Kirsty Lord, who represents Hassocks and Burgess Hill South, asked the county council to bring summer hours forward from April 1 to start immediately.

Long queues are becoming a regular feature outside Burgess Hill's rubbish tip
Long queues are becoming a regular feature outside Burgess Hill's rubbish tip

The Conservative-led council then announced this change days later later and summer hours will begin on Friday (March 12).

However because the booking system will require people to reserve a slot in advance and only allow one visit a week, there are fears residents from other parts of West Sussex who find booking difficult, particularly at the weekend, may decide to use Burgess Hill, potentially leading to even larger queues.

The Lib Dems have started a petition setting out potential options to improve the situation now and in the immediate future.

These include:

• Maximising the use of kerbside recycling for other waste products

• Installing webcams to allow real time queue monitoring by residents

• Reinstating mobile skips in areas far from a recycling site

• A study of household waste capacity and demand which takes into account the rapid recent growth of housing in Mid Sussex and the need to increase recycling rates in West Sussex.

Liberal Democrat candidate for Burgess Hill North, Stuart Condie, said: “Clearly the situation for residents is intolerable and action needs to be taken now by our county council - they are finally bringing in summer hours, but they also need to roll out the booking system to Burgess Hill immediately and trial other measures such as real time queuing information.”

Fellow Liberal Democrat candidate (Burgess Hill East) Richard Cherry, who brought the problem of queuing at the Burgess Hill site to the public’s attention in the Mid Sussex Times last week, added: “Some of the unfortunate side effects of Covid-19 restrictions have been increases in fly tipping and traffic bottlenecks, with people queuing for long periods at their local waste site.

“These queues, however, highlight the longer-term issue of poor management of waste sites by the Conservatives at West Sussex. We would also urge residents to consider whether their visit to the recycling site is essential and to safely store their waste where possible until lockdown restrictions are lifted in order to help alleviate pressures on our local sites.’

Meanwhile Ms Lord said: “Conservative-controlled West Sussex County Council have been tinkering with the waste sites for years – introducing then removing charges for household waste, requiring identification for access, changing opening hours, and threatening the closure of two sites as part of this year’s budget.

“They have acted late to introduce summer hours despite these pressures building for weeks and are only now trialling a booking system in a handful of sites without considering the implications for other towns. They need to stop tinkering and fix the tips once and for all.”

A spokesman for West Sussex County Council said: “The introduction of a trial booking system at certain Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRSs) in West Sussex is unlikely to have any impact on queues at the Burgess Hill HWRS. The trial booking system should make it faster for residents to use the sites by reducing queues and waiting times and it is anticipated this will be resident’s preferred option. We will be reviewing the trial regularly and will ask residents to give their feedback after it begins.

“We would always recommend residents use kerbside recycling, green waste and residual waste collections to safely dispose of household recycling and waste where possible.

“We have considered the use of webcams at HWRSs a number of times, but they are not deemed practical for a several reasons. Most of the HWRSs have sharp turnings outside the sites, so a camera on the gate would not help and we would not be permitted to place cameras elsewhere.

“The mobile service was run by Mid Sussex District Council. They stopped running this service in May 2020.

“We have started a review of all recycling and waste infrastructure, which is taking into account household developments, future policies and the targets outlined in the Government’s Resources and Waste Strategy (2018).”