South Tyneside Council is reminding people to visit its Recycling Village only if essential, in line with national restrictions, after a rise in demand over recent days.
Traffic management measures have been temporarily put in place to help deal with a surge in visitors to the site at Middlefields Industrial Estate in South Shields, which has led to problems with congestion in the area.
To help alleviate traffic, a two-lane approach system has been reinstated along Heddon Way, from today (Wednesday 3 March), to help separate visitors to the Recycling Village from business traffic on the industrial estate.
In addition, opening hours will be extended by one hour from Monday 15th March until Easter, with an earlier opening time of 8am.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: "Demand typically tends to rise around this time of year with many people having a spring clear out.
"But it is important to remember we are still in the midst of a global pandemic. National restrictions remain in place, with people required to stay home unless essential, and if they go out for permitted reasons, then they should stay local.
"Over recent days we have seen a surge in visitor numbers, which has been further exacerbated by issues in neighbouring authority areas. This has led to long queues forming at the Recycling Village with congestion along Heddon Way and Boldon Lane causing issues for businesses based on the industrial estate.
"It is also extremely important that Boldon Lane remains clear, particularly for emergency vehicles. We would urge anyone approaching a queue that reaches the entrance to the estate to leave and return another time.
"We have now reinstated the effective traffic management system we introduced last summer when the site reopened after the first national lockdown. We hope this will go some way to ease the problems we have been experiencing over the past few days and we will keep the situation under review."
While the site remains open under the Government's current national restrictions, measures remain in place. People are asked to visit only if their journey is essential and stay home as much as possible to help reduce the spread of coronavirus in the community.
The 'Even Plate, Even Date / Odd Plate, Odd Date' system remains in place. Cars with the wrong plate for the date will be asked to leave the queue and return on the corresponding day.
People who do not live in the Borough will be asked to leave and go to their local household waste and recycling sites.
Residents are urged to separate their essential waste materials before they travel to help limit their time on site.
Visitors are encouraged not to arrive before the opening time and if queues reach Boldon Lane, to come back another time. Additional signage has also been put in place indicated waiting times. If the waiting time exceeds the closing time of 6pm, then residents are should not join the queue and return on another day.
The Shop at the Recycling Village remains closed under the current national restrictions around non-essential retail. Anyone with items to donate are urged not to leave them outside and to return with them once the shop reopens.
Councillor Gibson added: "We thank the public for their support over a very challenging period. If people must visit, then it is extremely important that they follow the guidance. We continue to work hard to ensure the restrictions are observed for the safety of both staff and visitors and that the site continues to run as safely and efficiently as possible."
For further information about visiting the Recycling Village, including full details of the restrictions in place and vehicles permitted, visit the Council's website at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/waste