01 December 2023

Cars to be allowed access to majority of household recycling centres without booking

Aberdeenshire Council will allow cars to visit all household recycling centres except for Inverurie and Westhill without booking from Monday 8 January 2024.

A permit system for vans and trailers will be reintroduced across all household recycling centres in January to stop trade waste entering the sites.

Due to high demand at Alford, Fraserburgh, Huntly, Insch, Laurencekirk, Portsoy, Turriff, and Westhill household recycling centres, pedestrian access will be reintroduced. Pedestrians, bicycles, and bikes with trailers will be allowed safe access without the presence of other vehicles at these sites from noon to 12:30 pm each day from Monday 8 January 2024.

At Inverurie, the booking system will remain as vehicles queuing for the site have historically become a police traffic issue during busy periods.

Similarly, at the busy Westhill household recycling centre, removing the booking system would lead to traffic congestion near the site. There is also concern, due to the site’s proximity to the city, that removing the booking system would lead to increased visits from Aberdeen City householders.

The booking system at Aberdeenshire’s household recycling centres was first introduced as a traffic management tool and as a protective measure for customers and staff when centres opened after the covid lockdown in March 2020.

Between November 2022 and July of 2023, the council trialled various methods of access to its household recycling centres and evaluated the usage of the sites as well as the feedback provided by members of the public. The new arrangements, which come into effect on 8 January 2024, directly reflect the conclusions of the trial and the feedback provided.

The results of the trial were considered at Aberdeenshire Council’s Infrastructure Services Committee on Thursday 30 November 2023, where the decision was made to drop the booking system for cars at all sites from Monday 8 January 2024 with the exceptions of Inverurie and Westhill recycling centres where the booking system will remain.

Councillor Alan Turner, chair of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee (ISC), said: “Considering the feedback throughout the trial, this will be a popular result for the avid recyclers among us. Over the last year, I received several comments from Kincardine & Mearns residents, and I would like to say that I am particularly delighted about the new arrangements being introduced in the K&M area.

“Regardless of whether residents of Aberdeenshire need to book or not, I’d encourage everyone who wishes to visit a household recycling centre to continue to check the website for opening times. There are occasions where we must close a site at short notice and a quick visit to our web pages will save people a wasted trip in the few instances where we must make an unexpected closure.”

Councillor Isobel Davidson, ISC vice-chair, said: "It is a great result considering the popularity of the option in the feedback. We hope that Inverurie and Westhill residents will appreciate the reasoning behind the booking system remaining at their local household recycling centres.

“It was fascinating to see that, throughout the trial, people made fewer trips but with more deposited on each occasion. It would be good, in terms of climate change and reducing car journeys, if this habit were to continue.”

Visit aberdeenshire.gov.uk/RecyclingCentres to check household recycling centre opening days and times.

A benchmarking exercise carried out in September 2023 showed that within the 32 Scottish local authorities, 24 have a booking system in place at household recycling centres, either for all vehicles or for trade type vehicles only.

Since the introduction of the booking system, the council has seen a reduction in waste typically associated with trade going through household recycling centres and a 10% increase in trade waste contracts.

The booking system will now be used to implement the permit system that was approved by committee before covid. This permit system for the booking of vans and trailers, along with the limit of 24 visits per year, will be a control measure to keep trade waste out of household recycling centres while still allowing households with these vehicles to access the sites.

There was concern that the booking system led to increased fly tipping. However, it was reported at the Infrastructure Committee on Thursday 30 November, that the data shows there is no correlation between the way that customers access household recycling centres and fly tipping.

Household recycling centres are for household waste only. Businesses can sign up to a trade waste collection service or use the council’s business waste drop-off service.