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Council confirms details for Household Waste Recycling Centres to reopen

26th May 2020

The Highland Council can now confirm which of the Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRC) across the region will re-open from Monday 1st June 2020. A phased approach to re-opening the sites will be adopted with strict controls in place to help manage social distancing and to ensure the anticipated high number of visitors and volume of waste can be handled safely and efficiently.

In the initial phase the sites are open for essential waste disposal only and householders are advised that journeys to a HWRC must only be undertaken if their waste cannot be stored at home safely. By this we mean the waste cannot be stored without causing risk of injury, or harm to health.

The following sites that are re-opening from 1 June will be operating with revised opening hours.

They are: Alness, Aviemore; Brora; Dingwall, Fort William; Gairloch: Inverness; Lochinver; Nairn; Tain; Tongue; Thurso; Ullapool and Wick.

Householders are urged to visit the Council's website before they travel to one of these sites to check it will be open as planned and to find out what restrictions are in place. Visit Further guidance on what to expect when visiting a HWRC is detailed in our Frequently Asked Questions, also available on the website.

The first phase will see only cars being permitted access to the sites and the materials accepted will be restricted to bagged household waste and garden waste. To cut down on time spent at the site, householders should bring garden waste in bags and empty the contents into the containers.

The reason for the restrictions on vehicles and materials is to reduce the time spent at the sites by individuals, so that as many as people as possible can pass through the sites quickly and safely, enabling traffic to flow more freely. Only one person will be permitted to leave their vehicle to dispose of their waste. Site staff are unable to assist with handling waste; therefore, householders should only bring waste they can carry and empty into the containers.

Councillor Allan Henderson, Chair of Communities and Places, said: "I am pleased that we are now in a position to confirm that 14 of the HWRC are able to re-open from next Monday. Last week, The Scottish Government updated COVID-19 restrictions, permitting HWRC across the country to be re-opened from 1st June 2020, if safe to do so. The Council's Waste Team have been working hard to ensure that as many of the 20 sites across the Highland region can open from this date. However, we need to be clear that sites can only re-open when we have adequate staffing in place and it is safe to do so."

He continued, "All HWRC now need to be managed to make sure visitors move around the site as little as possible and leave as quickly as they can. As we have seen in other parts of the country, severe delays and queuing traffic are expected when the sites initially re-open, so I would like to remind householders that journeys to a HWRC must only be undertaken for essential waste disposal only and if your waste cannot be stored at home safely. If you can temporarily store your waste in a way that does not pose a risk to your or others safety or human health, then you must continue to do so.

"If your local HWRC is not currently on the list of those that are re-opening on 1st June, please be assured that Council Officers will be regularly assessing the situation. Each site is different and presents its own particular set of challenges but when we are confident that the resources and safety controls are in place, these sites will also be re-opened. As we are able to re-open more sites we will issue this information on the Council website and through social media.

“Over the coming weeks, once we are satisfied that the amount of waste and visitor numbers using the sites are at safe and manageable levels, we will move to Phase 2, which will see more types of waste being introduced to the list of items that are accepted. It is vitally important that householders check the new guidance about using a HWRC on our website and in the local press before they set off or risk being turned away."

Traffic management systems will be in operation in the surrounding area of a HWRC. Staff will be in place at the entrance to each site to speak with visitors and advise on waiting times and procedures on site. If a queue is too large, some vehicles may be turned away and asked to return later.

The re-opening of Portree HWRC in Skye is expected to be included in Phase 2, further information will be provided to householders online and in the local press as soon as a date for re-opening has been agreed. There are 5 small HWRC in Bonar Bridge, Durness, Grantown, Kingussie and Lairg which will remain closed until there is sufficient staffing resource within Waste Services and that Officers are confident the safety procedures on these sites can be managed effectively to facilitate social distancing.

To help reduce the spread of the of Coronavirus site staff will be adopting robust hygiene standards. Householders should wash their hands before and after visiting a HWRC. Please also observe social distancing and stay 2 metres apart from staff and other site users when at a HWRC. Householders are reminded not to visit the site if they are showing symptoms of Coronavirus. Strictly no commercial waste or recycling will be accepted.

Further information can be found by visiting: or email


Monday - Friday 0900-1530 (closed for lunch 12:00-13:00)


Monday - Friday 0900-1530 (closed for lunch 12:00-13:00)


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