Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updates on council services, health advice, and support available for residents and businesses.

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Book a visit to the Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC)

Questions and answers

This page provides answers to questions about visiting the HWRC during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.

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Why are we taking this approach?

Swindon is in a unique position compared to most other councils because we only have one HWRC for over 97,000 households. The site has only one entry/exit road and is shared with other council operations.

Because the HWRC was closed for six weeks in line with government guidance, we are expecting high demand when it reopens.

This approach will:

  • Ensure that those residents who need to make essential visits to the HWRC can do so in line with government guidance
  • Ensure residents and our staff are safe
  • Limit the impact of queuing on the road network and on local businesses operating in Cheney Manor Industrial Estate
  • Make sure our waste collection service, highways repairs crews, housing repairs crews and key COVID-19 response teams who operate from Waterside can continue to work

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How long will this last?

This approach will be trialled from Wednesday, 20 May and we will be reviewing the operation daily to improve it if needed.

We want to get our HWRC open to as many residents as possible as soon as we can. However, this depends on government guidance and being able to maintain safety on site. If the Government updates its guidance we will review it to see if any changes are required.

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How are you keeping residents safe when they visit the HWRC?

We have put a number of measures in place to ensure residents and staff are protected on site. These include:

  • Clear signage in the queuing area to remind everyone to follow social distancing rules
  • Regular cleaning of the tipping area
  • Closure of every other bay in the tipping area to maintain distance between vehicles and limit the number of people tipping at one time
  • Residents queuing will be required to stay in their vehicles and keep windows closed at all times
  • Staff will be wearing correct PPE
  • Residents will be required to double bag any non-recyclable waste
  • Residents who are self-isolating because they or a member of their household have displayed symptoms of COVID-19 should not attend the site

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I've tried to book. Why can’t I get a slot?

We appreciate that many people are eager to visit the HWRC, but have been unsuccessful when attempting to book a slot online. Our website has sometimes struggled to cope with an exceptionally high number of visitors at one time, and we are seeking solutions to this problem with our suppliers.

Furthermore, we recognise the demand for bookings is much higher than the number of slots we have made available. It is important to remember at this time the HWRC is not open for normal trips but for essential visits only to make sure staff and residents are safe. Residents should continue to store waste where they can until restrictions are relaxed and wider opening is possible.

In the first four days of booking, we took more than 1,700 bookings for cars, and more than 400 bookings for vans. Meanwhile, we continue to assess the prospect of opening bookings further into the future, so that more Swindon residents can put a trip to the HWRC in their diaries.

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Why are you not allowing vans over 3.5 tonnes or trade waste customers to visit the HWRC?

This is a temporary approach to allow us to focus on running the service for residents. It will be regularly reviewed.

Currently, large vehicles would take too long to empty.

Our bulky waste and garden waste services are still running for residents wishing to dispose of these types of waste.

Commercial waste operators can use other commercial sites to tip their waste.

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