THERE has been an "unacceptable" rise in abuse and assaults on staff at tips during the third national lockdown.

East Sussex County Council has reported an increase in abusive behaviour towards staff at its household waste recycling sites and has urged residents to "think carefully" about whether going to the tip is an essential journey.

As spring approaches and more people begin cleaning and DIY projects, residents are asked to consider whether they can safely store additional waste at home until they have a full car load, or recycle it through the kerbside collections, rather than frequently visiting one of the waste sites.

Cllr Claire Dowling, lead member for transport and environment, said: “Our household waste sites have remained open throughout the majority of the coronavirus pandemic, and the teams have worked incredibly hard to keep them safe and running smoothly.

“As spring approaches the sites are getting very busy and if you do visit, you will probably have to queue.

"I understand delays can be frustrating but sadly over recent months we have seen a rise in verbal abuse towards, and assaults on, our site staff, which is not acceptable in any circumstances.

"Lockdown restrictions are still in place and I urge residents to consider whether a trip to the tip is an essential journey.

"If you must visit please consider going at a quieter time, ensure you follow the rules when at the site, which are there to keep everyone safe, and always treat staff with respect.”

Reduced parking spaces remain in place at all sites and social distancing is required.

Staff are unable to assist with the unloading or sorting of items, and people can speed up their visit by separating items into categories when loading their vehicle.

Cars are accepted at the sites every day, but vans and vehicles over 2m are only permitted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, except at the Seaford site, which is open Friday to Sunday only.

Vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 3500kg or more are not permitted at any time, and trailers are not currently permitted.

Van drivers must provide proof of address with two forms of ID such as a driver’s licence, recent utility or Council Tax bill and they will be subject to new trade waste inspections.

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