Renewed plea for waste and recycling sites to be reopened

Margate recycling centre

A renewed plea to open at least one recycling site for Thanet residents to be able to dispose of bulky waste has been made to county council and the government.

Ramsgate resident Ruth Knall has launched a petition to government calling for tip sites to be reopened.

Recycling centres across the country were closed on March 23 in line with social distancing guidance issued to flatten the spread of coronavirus.

The petition is currently being checked to make sure it meets the correct standards prior to publication.

Ruth said: “I started the petition because I keep seeing Facebook posts about fly tipping and I believe that there would be a lot less of a problem with this if the tips were open.

“People have so much free time on their hands and they are going stir crazy, so having a sort out is a great way to keep busy and distracted. Mental health is an issue in times like these and it is definitely easier if you have something to focus on.”

Her call has been backed by two of the county councillors representing Margate and Ramsgate.

Cllr Karen Constantine has written to Cllr Susan Carey, Cabinet Member for the Environment, suggesting one site could reopen if staff were combined to work together and a traffic management system is used for people queue in their cars. This would be alongside on-site hand sanitising. Cllr Constantine says this would ensure social distancing could be put into practice and residents could safely dispose of household waste.

Karen Constantine 

She said: “I’ve been contacted by several residents who are really keen to use lockdown productively. To do this they need access to a Thanet tip. I’m also acutely aware that many Thanet residents live in poorer quality accommodation without access to a garden.

“For them, the need to be able to use every square foot is paramount. So they need really need household waste facilities. We could open one of our Thanet tips using all the staff and traffic management to ensure safety and social distancing.”

In the letter she adds: “With so many people furloughed, and with work drying up, it is inevitable that people will tend to their gardens and ‘spruce up’ their homes. For people in smaller accommodation, and for those without  access to gardens, the organisation of indoor space to maximise its use is vital.

For many sorting out our home, redecorating or gardening is an extremely positive experience promoting good mental health and well-being.”

Cllr Susan Carey

Earlier this week county council Cabinet members discussed the issue of reopening recycling sites with Cllr Carey saying: “We will reopen just as soon as Government advice and staffing levels allow us to do so safely. KCC officers are working on developing plans to reopen the recycling centres once the time is right to do this, particularly considering the continued lockdown and likely high demand from residents when the sites do reopen.”

The Government published a new directive earlier this month stating the sites can remain open, providing the two metre social distancing rules can be maintained.

Cllr Carey said the sites in Kent have been hampered by staff shortages due to sickness and self-isolation. Across KCC’s 18 sites there was a surge of visits last month, rising from 10,800 daily visits to around 14,400 by March 23.

Explaining the issues, Cllr Carey said: “More people at home were taking an opportunity for a clear-out at a time when our staff numbers were hit by sickness and a need for self-isolation.”

She added: “It was proving impossible to ensure social-distancing between the people using the sites and our staff.”

KCC leader Roger Gough said the authority is looking at ways of reopening sites.

Find the petition when it goes live here


  1. As Margate county councillor i also want to see tip sites open.
    Fly tipping is on the increase in Thanet and is getting worse by the week

    • KCC closed the tip so KCC can open it.

      Stop pussy footing about and making excuses – just do it. Central Government has said that the tips can be open – but Councillors are still talking about it and Officers are still thinking about it !

      The longer you delay, the longer the queue will be and the more difficult it will become to manage.

      As two commenters have pointed out – PPE and social distancing were already in place before the closure – then KCC shot itself in the foot and created the surge in fly tipping.

  2. I was caught in this exact dilemma a few weeks ago.
    We decided to clear out the attic and garage and I had a car load ready to go, only to hear that the tip was closed. It all had to come out and we realised that fly-tipping was going to go through the roof.

    I know that it will be difficult to keep staff and public a safe distance apart at the Recycling Centres but it’s not impossible. Most of us whizz in and dash around to dump our waste as fast as possible. We don’t linger and we often steer well away from others anyway as some of us will be carrying garden waste ,dropping wet mud, or wood with nails and splinters , or really heavy weights.
    No worse than shopping in a supermarket or no closer to others than passing someone in the street.
    I am sure arrangements can be made.

  3. Fly tipping will always happen all the time!councils make excessively high charges for the public to dispose of their waste!

  4. I believe with good planning the rubbish and recycling sites can be opened safely for Council staff and the public. The longer they are closed the harder it will be to re-open them due to the amount of waste building up in households and gardens. Social distancing occurs naturally at the sites and with a staggered vehicle entry system numbers can be managed.

    • Cllr Currie how are you going to manage the build up of cars along Manston road in both directions ? There is a queue most weekends when the tip is working normally. With less cars going in at any one time the queues on the Manston road will build up, this could cause problems for people trying to get to and from thanet crematorium. More the police to police it when they time could be spent doing more important duties. Does TDC have the staff to do our bins as well as open tips ?

      people will have had this rubbish for years now all of a sudden when the work force that is still working is stretched, the work force that isn’t working now wants to do the rubbish clearance it doesn’t want to do when its working ! Like I said you can still take you rubbish to the private firms if you want your rubbished taken asap or just leave it another 10 years or be patient and wait for the pandemic to clear.

      I would just like to say well done to the bin men and women who are doing a great job

  5. Prior to it’s lockdown closure the tip at Margate was being ‘distance’ managed really well. I queued in my car with a boot full of garden waste thinking it was taking an age to get in, only to discover that the reason for the delay was that they were allowing only a limited number in, directing folk to where the majority of their waste was to go and spacing the cars well apart. All staff were masked, and people kept their distance from each other. I couldn’t see why they closed it, it was working well. Personally, I need it to reopen as, having been working in the jungle that is my garden, it’s in danger of being reburied beneath it’s own waste!

    • We went to Margate tip just before it was closed and their system was brilliant , all staff in ppe , handing out flyers about what you can and can,t do , people were social distancing , the car queue in was calm and orderely ,it was very well organised , then it was Closed !

  6. Seeing as TDC are short of staff due to self isolating. Who is going to man these sites ? Perhaps the suits who earn loads could come out from behind their desk and do it.
    Or would the public prefer our bin collection to be reduced by taking staff from there to man the tips ?.

    We seem to want to blame TDC for most things but people who fly tip are just scum and only care about themselves. It’s not rocket science keep the waste at home until the tips are reopen after all you were happy with the waste in your house/garden before lockdown ! All you have done is moved your waste from one area of you home to another

    PS if you are that desperate to get rid of your waste you could use the private companies that take it.

    • Is going to the tip classed as an essential journey? It’s like going to work, the doctor, for food …..yes officer I was just taking this rubbish I have had in my house for the last 10 yrs to the tip when I had the crash putting the NHS under more pressure as I needed intensive care.

    • Two points to clear up here. Firstly the recycling site in Thanet is managed by KCC and not TDC. Also the suits at TDC are not at present behind their desks. At the first sign of the Lockdown. The suits at Cecil Sq. Started working from home, taking 95% of the other office staff with them. Nice work if you can get it. Leaving only the front line staff at work. I was talking to someone emptying bins the other day and they told me that they are normally cutting grass, but have spent the last few weeks doing bins as they are so short off of staff. While the office staff are sitting at home. Sorry working from home.

  7. Or just use the bulk bins, that are scattered liberally around cliftonville and westbrook, put your stuff in black bags, chuck it in, council do a good job of emptying them regularly ( seen those in dalby square checked 4 times in a day on one occasion) .
    No its not what they are meant for but it solves a problem halfway sensibly, which is more than can be said for the way the residents of cliftonville often use them.

  8. What is KCC actually for? Where are they in this coronavirus emergency? Everything marked KCC is shutdown and all we hear is that they are thinking about this or that.
    Perhaps they can fix some potholes, now the roads are empty,but I doubt it.
    The waste sites are run by Biffa,not KCC;therefore its Biffa’s problem if they cannot run the sites.
    TDC is emptying the bins, their staff and all those running vital services are running a risk on our behalf, but not apparently not those at KCC.
    TDC, sometimes rightly, gets some stick, but KCC which swallows up the largest amount of council tax, where is their leadership?
    What have they done to prevent deaths in care homes for instance, seeing as they constantly complain, again rightly, that there is not enough cash in the adult social care sector? What are they going to do about reviving the economy of Thanet after the lockdown?
    It’s a cannot do Council.
    There is a risk, but it can be done,if they try.Afterall how do you socially distance in a dustbin lorry?

  9. Kent County council ruling Tory group have been ignoring Thanet for years. They have supported recently the closure of the stroke unit in Margate hospital plus wasting £36 million on the white elephant thanet parkway station against the wishes of the majority of local residents.

  10. I’ve noticed sandwich tip has been open but that’s too far for me trip wise with the amount I’ve accumulated when at thanet tip people can only get there two at a time if you qued and cars 1,3,5 used seperate bays surely it could work if different towns have allocated days the place is big enough and fly tipping would reduce as well as people not mixing their household waste for the bin men.

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