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By Michael Brown

Senior Staff Writer

5 May 2020

| | 5 min read


Newcastle to reopen waste and recycling centres with strict social distancing

Householders are being urged to “not all rush out at once” as Newcastle City Council looks to reopen its ‘tips’.

An image of Walbottle HWRC with the text Tips to reopen on May 11 Here's what you need to know

In line with Government guidelines the city’s three Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) have been closed as social distancing could not be maintained, with residents asked to try and minimise the rubbish they produce or store the excess at home.

Now however, with work completed to modify sites and install safety measures, the 'tips' at Brunswick, Byker and Walbottle will again open their doors on Monday May 11, though with restrictions – including visitors having to prove they live in Newcastle - in place.

Cllr Nick Kemp, cabinet member for environment and regulatory services, said: “We said from the start that we would reopen our HWRCs as soon as we could and that is exactly what we are doing.

“We thank everyone who has responsibly held onto their excess waste while waiting for this moment, but now must ask people not to all immediately rush out.

“In order that this works for everyone, we need people to be sensible, remembering that most trips to the tip would still not be considered essential journeys under the Government’s lockdown rules."

Bulky waste discount to deter HWRC trips

Under the lockdown guidelines set out by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, a visit to your local HWRC would only be considered essential if excess waste cannot be stored at home without causing a risk of injury or harming your health.

Cllr Kemp said: “To help people decide against making unnecessary journeys we are reducing the cost of our bulky waste collections by 25 percent for 30 days and would actively encourage families to make use of this service.”

“And if you do absolutely have to visit then please accept that there will be some disruption to your usual experience of our sites.”

New HWRC rules

When the HWRCs reopen on May 11, stringent social distancing will be in place.

To achieve this:

  • Only five vehicles will be allowed on site at any one time at Walbottle and Brunswick, with four on site at Byker.
  • Only one occupant will be allowed per vehicle. Blue badge holders may have two, but only one person may get out.
  • All visitors must park in the bays provided.
  • A 10 minute time limit will be in place to dispose of waste.
  • Visitors must follow the walking routes indicated and, if a skip is in use, wait in one of the marked areas.
  • Staff will not be able to assist residents with heavy items or any unloading.
  • Sites will be closed for cleaning for 10 minutes each hour.

Reducing demand

Even with these measures this could potentially lead to waiting times of up to an hour to enter a site.

To reduce demand and manage those who are visiting:

  • All non-Newcastle residents will be turned away – Visitors will have to show both a passport or driver’s licence, and a recent council tax or utility bill to be allowed in.
  • New traffic management will be in place both outside and inside sites.
  • No large or commercial vehicles will be admitted and the WasteBot permit system will be suspended for a minimum of 30 days following re-opening.
  • Visitors should stay in their cars while waiting to enter.
  • The queue will be capped at one hour - If the queue to enter is already that long visitors may be asked to leave and return at another time.
  • Extra staff will be on site to ensure social distancing.
  • Last entry to HWRCs will be at 7.40pm.

Cllr Kemp said: “We know there will be a great demand to visit HWRCs in the first few days after they reopen, but we would ask that if you can, you please hold off as long as possible so that we can effectively manage numbers and ensure the safety of both residents and our staff.”

More information

For more information, including HWRC site information and opening times, please visit

Or to arrange a paid for bulky waste collection please visit - The 25% discount will be applied when you checkout.