For the foreseeable future, bookings will remain mandatory for visits to all recycling centres in Moray, in line with Scottish Government social distancing advice. However, today councillors voted in favour of keeping the system in place permanently in Elgin only.
Doing so will allow Moray Council, which had allocated £1.53 million over the next two years to investigate and develop an alternative site for Elgin’s recycling centre, to remain at Chanonry – saving up to £1.48 million in relocation costs.
Pre-Covid, the constraints of the busy site had made it difficult to operate and ensure health and safety requirements were maintained, with traffic management required during busy periods to avoid vehicles backing up onto the A96 trunk road.
The booking system in place has meant that vehicle movements are controlled, reducing health and safety risks and avoiding queuing traffic.Now, £50,000 – or £40,000 if the council is successful in securing a Zero Waste Scotland grant – will be reassigned from the relocation project to install an automatic number plate recognition system and automatic barrier, granting access to vehicles linked to a valid booking reference.
Chair of Moray Council’s Economic Growth, Housing & Environmental Sustainability Committee, Cllr Graham Leadbitter, said: “The booking system for our recycling centres has proven very effective in managing numbers during the current Covid outbreak and over time the availability of bookings will increase as and when restrictions ease.“Keeping the booking system in place and investing in systems such as automated barriers that are linked to number plate recognition and the booking system will ensure a much smoother experience for people, and reduce waiting at peak times such as the weekends and over the Christmas period.
“Anecdotally people are also planning their journeys to the recycling centres more, taking larger loads and making fewer trips – which has both an environmental and cost benefit from fewer journeys being made, and making the management of the sites better for both staff and customers.”