Recycling centres in West Lothian re-open on Monday.

They have remained closed due to restrictions on non-essential travel which have been in place across the country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

All five centres - Oakbank (Livingston), Whitburn, Linlithgow, Broxburn and Blackburn - re-open from Monday (June 1).

All centres will open seven days a week, 10am to 6pm.

Members of the public are being advised to expect changes at centres to ensure they comply with social distancing guidelines and operate safely for both staff and customers.

Queuing is likely at times and customers can expect to have to wait to gain access.

If customers do not have an urgent need to dispose of items, they are being advised to hold off visiting the sites initially to avoid queues.

Only cars will be allowed access to Recycling Centres, with no trailers or vans allowed at this stage. This is in line with national guidance and is aimed at reducing congestion.

There will also be changes to the site layouts and drop off process.

A limited number of parking bays will be available at each recycling centre and staff will be on hand to direct customers when they enter.

Each bay provides access to a bagged waste skip and a bulky waste skip. Customers will be asked to remain in their vehicle until they are directed to a parking bay and will not be able to leave their bay as the rest of the site is closed.

Customers must ensure that they maintain a two-metre distance from others at all times.

Staff will not be able to help unload vehicles so if customers require assistance to dispose of waste in skips, they should bring someone from their own household with them.

Licencing requirements prevent the council from accepting electrical items, gas bottles, tyres, asbestos or liquids (such as paint and oil) at this time.

Jim Jack, head of operational services said: “Our focus is to allow as many customers as possible to dispose of waste safely. We anticipate the sites will be very busy and traffic queues are likely. To mitigate this additional traffic management measures are in place on access roads and to ensure users safety within the sites themselves. We have also taken steps to reduce the time needed for customers to dispose of their material safely.”

“We’d ask customers follow the instructions given and to be patient as queues are likely at peak times. We do appreciate that customers will want to dispose of items currently stored in sheds and garages but we would ask them to consider the timing of doing so to help reduce unnecessary journeys and queues in the initial reopening period. The sites are open 7 days a week so there should be no need to rush to the sites for many residents in the initial opening period.”

“The layouts on sites are very different and staff will be on hand to direct customers, but they cannot help physically. Due to the way in which we are processing waste, there are also a number of items that we cannot accept at the moment. Our focus at this stage is to allow us to allow access to centres as safely as possible, so some restrictions on what can be disposed of are necessary for a short time.”

“It’s very important that customers follow the instructions onsite.”

Executive councillor for the Environment Tom Conn said: “This is a positive step forward and I’m sure it will be welcomed by many customers particularly given that each centre is open 7 days a week. We know it has been inconvenient for many customers not being able to access their local recycling centre. However the message was don’t travel unless it was essential and travelling to a centre was not classed as essential. The centres are now re-opening and we’d urge customers to be patient if they choose to visit the centres in the initial re-opening phase.”