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THE leader of Renfrewshire Council has said he suspects recycling tips will be reopened in a phased manner once people are given the green light to use them.

During the latest emergencies board meeting, Councillor Iain Nicolson hit back at elected members who had criticised the local authority for not moving more quickly to unlock the gates at the area's household waste recycling centres (HWRCs).

Independent councillor Andy Doig and Labour members Derek Bibby and Alison Dowling have all insisted keeping the area’s five tips shut indefinitely is not sustainable, while council chiefs have repeatedly said they are following national guidance on the issue.

But there seemed to be some early signs of progress as Councillor Nicolson revealed he expects tips to open up gradually across the area when the Scottish Government gives the go-ahead.

He told the board: “I think it’s been made clear the officers are working at a national level on this and through negotiations with the Scottish Government.

“When they are safe to open and we’re given the assurances that we can, then we will open them but they will obviously be opened in a phased manner, I suspect, given the pent-up demand that appears to be out there for them.

“I think the sensible thing to do is just to follow the national guidance and make sure, when the sites do eventually open, they will be opened safely.”

Gordon McNeil, the council’s director of environment and infrastructure, also confirmed at the board meeting that local authority bosses had started to draw up what the future may look like at tips in Johnstone, Linwood, Renfrew, Paisley and Erskine, which have all been closed as part of Covid-19 restrictions.

Councillor Alistair Mackay, who represents Johnstone South and Elderslie, asked Mr McNeil if a plan to reopen tips could be shared with members, after the UK Government published guidance on May 5 about the phased reopening of HWRCs in England.

Mr McNeil told the board: “The position is still very much that it is being discussed at a national level.

“Scotland is looking to take a co-ordinated approach on how and when the HWRC sites are reopened. In Renfrewshire, we have done some planning on what it might look like but we will be taking into account things which are agreed on a national basis and how we would apply that locally.

“When we are closer to understanding what the national position looks like, we will be looking to update members on how we are going to take things forward in Renfrewshire.”

A council spokesman added: “We are continuing to follow the national guidance for recycling centres.

“Please continue to use all of your recycling bins, as we are still providing a full collection service at this time, and store any larger items safely at home.”

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