NORTHWICH tip is to remain closed as the coronavirus pandemic continues, despite instances of fly-tipping increasing on a national level.

Cheshire West and Chester Council made the decision to close all household waste recycling centres in the borough last month in line with guidance from the Government and Public Health England.

This decision was also mirrored by hundreds of local authorities across the country.

But since this came into force, a worrying trend has developed that suggests that people are choosing to illegally dump their waste rather than store it until tips reopen.

Many councils across the UK are reporting soaring levels of fly-tipping, and when asked by the Guardian whether this national increase could lead to Northwich tip reopening, Cllr Karen Shore, deputy council leader and cabinet member for environment, stated that this would only happen in line with government guidance.

She said: “All household waste recycling centres in the borough will remain closed following government guidance on non-essential travel and social distancing.

“The council is asking people to store their excess waste safely until centres reopen.

“We will monitor all government guidance on household waste recycling centres and, in partnership with the contractor, the sites will open when appropriate to do so.”

Cllr Shore went on to say: “There has not been an increase in the levels of fly-tipping during this period across the borough.

“Fly-tipping is an offence and people who have been found to have done this will be prosecuted.

“Residents are being asked to try to minimise waste and, where this is not possible, to store additional items in a secure place.”

Another decision which has received a mixed reaction from residents is the suspension of the collection of garden waste.

On this, Cllr Shore said: “Our garden waste service will continue to be suspended at this time and vehicles and staff will be used to support and maintain the kerbside recycling and waste collection services due to staff shortages.

“Maintaining residents’ recycling and domestic waste collection services remains our priority.”

And when asked about what measures are in place to safeguard staff working in the council’s waste collection teams, she added: “To ensure teams can social distance, crew numbers have been reduced to a driver and one loader per round and the same groups are working together.

“Extra vehicles are being deployed to enable crew members to maintain appropriate social distancing in the cab.

“Deep cleaning of all vehicles has increased to maintain the health, wellbeing and safety of staff.”