A PRE-BOOKING system has been introduced at household waste recycling centres (HWRC) in Hampshire to manage demand and reduce queuing traffic.

Hampshire County Council (HCC) says the new pre-booking system, which went live today (Thursday), will be operating at all the county’s HWRCs from Monday, June 15. This comes after opening hours were extended to cope with demand.

Only residents who have made a booking will be able to access the sites from this date onwards.

The system is being set up in response to some of the severe traffic congestion seen at many HWRCs since they reopened on May 11 with new social distancing measures in place.

Cllr Rob Humby, deputy leader and executive member for economy, transport and environment, said: “The new Covid-safe working requirements inevitably mean capacity at all of our HWRCs is reduced. Although we have the largest HWRC network in the country, we haven’t seen a decline in the numbers of people visiting the HWRCs in the weeks since they reopened.

“Unfortunately, despite road markings and signs that we had put in place to help manage the traffic, the level of queuing at many sites is so significant that it is causing issues with local residents, local businesses and, in some cases, risking the safety of others on the roads.

“Once the booking system is in place, we will be able to manage the number of vehicles coming to HWRCs at all times, so should see an end to this unacceptable level of traffic queuing. We’ll also have confidence that waste vehicles will be able to enter HWRCs to service the bins without getting stuck in traffic which means we can keep the sites open for longer each day.”

From June 15, all HWRCs will also revert to their normal summer opening hours of 9am until 6pm, seven days a week.

People will be able to book a 30-minute slot up to 48 hours in advance. It is anticipated that over 30,000 booking slots will be available each week.

Those wishing to book a slot will need to provide their name, car registration and, for online bookings, an email address.

Bookings will be limited to one slot per household per week, and can now be made online at: www.hants.gov.uk/wasteandrecycling/recyclingcentres/book-appointment, or by calling 023 8017 9949.