HEREFORDSHIRE Council leaders say rubbish tips will remain closed for the time being despite the government allowing sites to reopen.

The council says the vast majority of local authorities across the country have not yet opened their household waste recycling centres.

Chief executive Alistair Neill said the main reason for this was to avoid unnecessary travel during the coronavirus lockdown.

Conservative group leader councillor Jonathan Lester asked last week's cabinet meeting when the sites would reopen.

“Apparently some facilities across the land have opened and that has just created tailbacks and an increase in fly-tipping,” he said.

Mr Neill replied: “We’ve been having a great deal of contact with council’s across the country.

“It does seem to be the case that the vast majority of council’s have not opened their household waste recycling centres at this stage for a number of reasons. Predominantly, the avoidance of unnecessary travel guiding that.”

Economy and place director Richard Ball said they have held talks with their contractors about how to open the tips.

“The priority will be that they can operate safely,” he said.

“Particularly for the staff involved and ensuring social distancing within the sites as they are reopened.

“That also involves looking at which sites are most appropriate to open first.

“We are not at the point of confirming when they will reopen yet.”

Commissioning, procurement and assets cabinet member Gemma Davies said there had not been an increase in fly-tipping.

“We’ve had a few people asking over the period what is happening with the waste collection centres and an allegation of an increase in fly-tipping,” she said.

“That’s something I’ve been having a briefing on every week. There’s been no increase in fly-tipping since the closure of the recycling centres which is really good.

“A lot of the information that has been coming through has been anecdotal.

“There has been no rise in the figures.”

Coun Davies praised the waste team and how the bin collectors have managed to do the service despite staff shortages.