Thousands of drivers use controversial new tip booking system at South Shields recycling village in first week - but anger remains
Thousands of drivers have used the controversial new tip booking system since it launched on September 20.
South Tyneside Council said more than 2,000 residents visited the Recycling Village at Middlefields in the first week of the new system being introduced.
Council chiefs said the new booking arrangements would help manage high demand at the tip, which has seen huge queues of traffic and long waits for drivers – as well as congestion issues in the area.
The new regime, however, was not been widely welcomed when it was first announced, with hundreds of angry Gazette readers voicing concerns over inconvenience and potential problems with increased fly-tipping.
One man contacted the Gazette after visiting the tip under the new system, and said he had emailed the council demanding the ‘ridiculous decision’ be overturned based on his experiences.
He added he had requested detailed information on why the scheme had been introduced.
But the council said new measures have been positively received by those visiting the site, which officers said had welcomed around 400 people on the first day of operation alone.
Councillor Ernest Gibson, lead member for Area Management and Community Safety, said: “It has been encouraging that people have been using the new system and the feedback received from those who have booked their slot and visited has been extremely positive.
“We are pleased that the launch has went smoothly and is achieving what is set out to do; preventing the lengthy queues, which were not only causing frustration for users but creating traffic delays on our road network and problems for other businesses on the industrial estate.
“It is also helping us to regulate who uses the site by restricting access to the people of South Tyneside only.”
Cllr Gibson said more than 4,500 appointments have been booked since the system was introduced, 95% of them through the council’s website.
But he added around a quarter of people were still turning up without a booking – and warned drivers they must book in advance in future.
"In these early days we have enabled them to enter the site, but going forward residents do need to have booked a slot beforehand,” he said.
“We appreciate this is a big service change for residents and may take some time to get used too. We will continue to monitor the situation closely to ensure the service is running as efficiently as possible. In the meantime, we thank residents for their support as we all work under these new arrangements.”
Visitors to the Recycling Village are required to book a slot, either online or over the phone.
Slots are released two weeks in advance and available on a first come first served basis.
Those with vans are able to get an annual permit, allowing up to 12 visits a year.
The Recycling Village at Middlefields Industrial Estate in South Shields is open every day, except Christmas Day, from 9am to 6pm.
South Tyneside residents can book online at www.southtyneside.gov.uk or over the phone by calling the Customer Contact Centre on 0191 427 7000.