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I don't know how many times I predicted it over the years, but reducing the days and hours our nation's civic amenity tips are open, has indeed caused chaos. Some years ago, a local man died during an altercation with another man over their different views on how to queue at our tip - and that was when it was open from early morning until late evening, 363 days a year. That tragedy was obviously an extreme, but the chaos we've witnessed since opening hours were dramatically shortened, has been exacerbated by lockdown, since our tips were shut completely for several weeks.
As people had time on their hands while furloughed, they did lots of clearing out at home and had far more items that needed to be taken to the tip than normal. These items have invariably sat around the house or were put into the porch, front garden or car boot, until the tips opened again. Less responsible residents, who were too impatient to wait, dumped their stuff out in our open spaces and left it for the council to clear up. The amount of rubbish that's now left blighting our towns and countryside is horrendous.
Although no-one in my household's been furloughed, we've also picked up the decluttering bug and consequently have been living with a double mattress in the sitting room for some weeks, while our porch is almost impenetrable. Having read on local social media groups about the 1.5 hour-long queues with none of the usual help with heavy or bulky items as we unload - because workers are social distancing, I've not wanted to waste my time or add to the pollution by joining the queues.
Representatives from our council's environmental services team have joined some of these local social media groups and while they've taken some stick they've also answered our questions and taken on board our complaints. This may have resulted in the creation of a booking system which kicks off next week, although as other councils are already trialling such schemes it may be because they actually work. I have an early space reserved next Thursday and can take my daughter as we know we'll be home in time to start work. I'll let you know how it goes...
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29th October 2020