PEOPLE in Helensburgh are awaiting an announcement on the reopening of the town's waste recycling facility – two months after it was shut in line with lockdown restrictions.

The Blackhill ‘civic amenity site’, in common with others across Scotland, has been shut since March 23.

Nicola Sturgeon is due to give details of a ‘road map’ out of lockdown for the country today (Thursday), including some restrictions which could be eased from May 28.

It’s widely expected that the local authorities will be given permission to re-open recycling facilities if it is safe, and with appropriate social distancing measures in place.

READ MORE: What lockdown limits could be lifted in Scotland on May 28?

Neighbouring West Dunbartonshire Council has already said its civic amenity sites will re-open on June 1.

Argyll and Bute, meanwhile, says that a provisional date for sites to re-open has been agreed – but has not yet made that information public.

Argyll and Bute Council leader Aileen Morton told the authority’s business continuity committee last week that she was expecting an update soon from the First Minister on the issue, amid growing concern at instances of fly-tipping around the area.

The council previously told the Advertiser household waste had been left at the recycling points in the Helensburgh pier car park, while photos posted on social media last week appeared to show evidence of fly-tipping in the Glen Fruin area.

READ MORE: Council leader 'awaiting announcement' on reopening of Argyll and Bute's recycling facilities

An Argyll and Bute spokesperson said: “Along with other councils, Argyll and Bute has agreed a provisional date for re-opening its civic amenity centres.

"This is subject to national guidance from the Scottish Government on travel and assurance that there will be no negative impact on Covid-19 infection rates.

“Meantime we are working on plans to make sure the sites operate safely and efficiently for our customers.

“These plans will be promoted on the council’s website, social media channels and [email] news round-up before the sites re-open.”

READ MORE: Environment watchdog's warning over lockdown spike in fly-tipping

Similar facilities across England and Wales have already reopened, in line with the UK government's amended lockdown advice, with long queues of traffic reported at many sites as people waited patiently to dispose of material accumulated during the pandemic.

Helensburgh councillor Lorna Douglas said: “I hope that the amenity site at Blackhill is operational as soon as possible. I have not been given any official indication of a date. 

"As far as I am aware plans are being put in place for opening relatively  soon.

“Risk and safety issues are being considered as how best to meet these issues and the possible demand there will be on the site when it opens initially.”.

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