‘WORRYING scenes on the roads’ when tips reopen in West Berkshire have been predicted by council bosses due to pent-up demand.

Long queues on the roads are expected at the two household waste recycling centres in the district, Padworth and Newton Road.

Councillor Steve Ardagh-Walter (Con, Thatcham Colthrop & Crookham), lead for environment at West Berkshire Council, said: “The challenge we are going to face is that there is a huge backlog of pent up demand.”

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People wanting to use the tips when they first reopen may have to book a slot, to deal with the backlog and avoid too many people going at once.

Cllr Ardagh-Walter said: “It’s not like queueing for the supermarket, where there are many supermarkets in the district, they’ve been open throughout the crisis, and you can park your car.

“Recycling centres don’t have car parks. The simple bit of maths around the number of households in the district, and the proportion we think are going to attempt get to Newtown Road and Padworth on the first few days, could lead to some worrying scenes on the roads.”

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He was speaking at a meeting of the council executive on April 30. At that meeting, Cllr Lee Dillon (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East) asked whether people could be allowed to go the tips on certain days, depending on where they live.

Cllr Dillon said: “Would you consider different days for different postcodes or for different towns?”

But people could get “confused” by a postcode system, Cllr Ardagh-Walter said, and the ways to avoid long queues needed to be simple enough for people to understand. He added: “One option that we are looking at is the potential of a booking system, which is done in Bracknell.”

Both tips will stay open for longer when they do reopen, after a successful trial at Padworth.

Bonfires and fly-tipping have been issues because of the tips closing, Cllr Ardagh-Walter admitted. The tips shut in March when the social distancing rules were brought in.

On reopening the recycling centres, Cllr Ardagh-Walter said: “We’ve not yet had a signal from the government that the time is right. But we’re very actively planning how to reopen these facilities.

“We want to get things back to normal as quickly as possible, however also being conscious of the risks. We will make an announcement very shortly.”