EAST Renfrewshire Council is being urged to reopen recycling centres amid concerns over flytipping during the coronavirus lockdown.

Civic dumps have been closed for weeks as part of efforts to halt the spread of Covid-19.

However, Green MSP Ross Greer, who represents East Renfrewshire as part of his West Scotland remit, believes there should now be plans in place to unlock the gates at household waste recycling centres.

He told the Barrhead News: “The Scottish Government has committed to issuing guidance to local councils. It must do so urgently to ensure that East Renfrewshire’s recycling centres can be opened as safely as possible.

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“There’s been a huge increase in flytipping across the country in recent weeks and reopening these centres should help to reduce this problem.

“Larger items like furniture and electrical goods can’t be recycled through council bin collections, so it’s important that people are patient. It’s easier to have patience when you have an idea of how long you’ll be waiting for recycling centres to reopen, though.

“There’ll likely be a huge rush to these centres as lockdown is eased and it’s vital that this is managed safely.

“The council will also need to speak to the trade unions ahead of any reopening. Workers must have confidence that their work environment will be safe and that they can raise concerns which will be addressed before they are expected to return to work.”

Barrhead’s MSP, Tom Arthur, said the safety of workers at the recycling hubs, as well as the general public, has to be the priority when considering the right time to unlock the gates.

“Councils also need to consider staffing shortages and physical distancing before our local recycling centres can reopen,” added Mr Arthur, who represents Renfrewshire South.

“While these workers do their best for us, it’s important that we continue to do what we can to help them by pitching in to crack down on illegal flytippers.

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“Now more than ever, we also have a responsibility for managing our waste during this period. That means keeping larger items at home until the centres reopen.”

A spokeswoman for East Renfrewshire Council said the current position is that travel to a household waste recycling centre is not classed as an essential journey.

She added: “As a result, our recycling centres remain closed and are likely to remain so until the travel advice changes.

“We are taking steps to consider under what circumstances centres could reopen, once the national travel advice is changed. This work includes considering how physical distancing at centres can be maintained in order to help protect staff and members of the public.”