RCT Council Leader Provides Service Update
Following the minor amendments to the Stay at Home regulations made by the Welsh Government, the Leader of the Council has issued an update on the progress of reopening the Council’s Community Recycling Centres and Libraries.
Councillor Andrew Morgan, Leader of RCT Council, said: “Whilst the coronavirus is still a very real threat in our communities, the Welsh Government’s announcement last Friday has enabled Local Authorities to begin the planning work for how some key services are brought back into operation.
“Yesterday, the Council announced that we were in discussions with other Welsh Local Authorities to find a common approach to reopening Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) in a way that can protect our staff and the public, whilst also ensuring that the necessary resources are available to meet the expected demand.
“Following these discussions, I can now confirm that Rhondda Cynon Taf’s CRC sites will reopen on Friday, 22nd May, with a number of important social distancing restrictions and guidelines in place which residents using the CRCs will be required to follow.
“A strictly limited number of vehicles will be allowed in at any one time and the 2 metre social distancing requirements must be observed at all times, with residents being unable to exit their vehicles until arriving at each skip. Staff on-site will also be provided with Personal Protective Equipment.
“To ensure that as many residents as possible can access these facilities following the period of closures, our Recycling Centres will open under the extended hours of 9am until 7pm for the public. Council staff will work beyond these hours to ensure our sites are safe and prepared for use for residents.
“To respond to the inevitable high demand for this service, two temporary sites will also be established for 10 days in order to alleviate some of the strain on the existing facilities by accepting some limited items and further details on these will be published closer the time.
“Additional capacity will also be created by increasing the number of lorries removing material and the emptying of containers will also be doubled to ensure as many residents can access this service as possible.
“When public access to our Recycling Centres resumes, I would like to ask residents to act responsibly and avoid rushing to use these facilities to ensure that we can maintain social distancing and allow time for these Centres to resume operating normally – there is likely to be a significant demand and a lengthy wait due to the demand and strict entry and exit arrangements, and this will be even greater if residents don’t follow this approach.
“In line with the guidance for Welsh Authorities, which now permits us to review how we could reopen our libraries, Officers are developing plans for these facilities to be brought back into use. However, given the current situation with Covid-19 in RCT, it is my view that our libraries should not open during the current review period of the next three weeks.
“We recognise that social interaction is an important aspect of our libraries and we are further conscious of the wellbeing impact, along with the opportunities they provide to access digital resources, but I am of the view that reopening these facilities during the current circumstances would be detrimental to the safety of residents and Council staff. I will take further advice and the situation will be reviewed again in three weeks’ time and a decision will consequently be taken in line with the circumstances.
“My priority as Council Leader has to be the wellbeing and safety of our residents and Council staff in any decisions that are taken.”