Police and a councillor have appealed for people not to visit council tips after chaotic scenes in James Street, York.
Officers had to deal with long queues of people waiting to get into the Hazel Court Household Waste and Recycling Depot this morning and queues are continuing this afternoon.
They and ward councillor Fiona Fitzpatrick have warned residents that trips to a council tip may not be considered as “essential”.
Under lockdown regulations, people can only leave their home for four specified “essential” reasons.
Cllr Fitzpatrick said: “It is sad when going to get rid of rubbish is thought of as a way to get out of the house.”
She urged the local public health department and City of York Council to give clear guidance on whether people can or cannot make trips to household dumps during lockdown.
Similar scenes were reported at Towthorpe council dump.
York police tweeted:
We are seeing continued issues at council tips with traffic safety, obstruction of local businesses and non essential trips. COVID regulations still apply as do traffic regulations. Ask yourself, is it busy, am I blocking anything, is it essential. It’s not difficult😳@CityofYork
— NPT York North (@NPTyorknorth) February 27, 2021
Cllr Fitzpatrick said: “It’s going to cause an accident in James Street. It is really not fair on the YorWaste people who are trying to deal with massive numbers of people.
“It’s not fair on them for their health. They are trying to get the public to distance when they get inside, but they (the public) are completely fed up with all the traffic.”
She fears similar scenes could be repeated many times in coming weeks as the weather improves.
The council website says Hazel Court is open and does not mention lockdown restrictions other than saying social distancing must be maintained.
During the first lockdown last Spring, the council dumps were closed for many weeks and when they reopened, people had to book a time slot and could not arrive without pre-booking.
The lockdown rules published by the Government say that under the current lockdown, people can only leave their homes for work or education of keyworker children, to buy food and other essential services, exercise, and for voluntary work assisting others with their essentials such as shopping.
They make no mention of household waste depots, nor does the road map to lifting the lockdown published earlier this week.
Apart from schools reopening on March 8, the lockdown rules will not change before March 29 at the earliest.