Council told recycling centre bike ban ‘discriminatory’
Essex County Council says it is changing its new policy banning bike recycling centers from entering after warning the changes would be “discriminatory”.
From Monday March 13 residents visiting Essex County Council recycling centers must book in advance. Pedestrians and cyclists who transport waste from their own homes do not have to book.
However, cyclists visiting recycling centers have been told they cannot ride them onto the site. This has sparked the reaction of one cycling and disability activist, who took to Twitter and called the proposals unlawful.
Essex County Council has since changed its policy – cyclists are now welcome to use their bikes when visiting recycling centers and don’t have to book.
The initial guidance had led 2_Wheeled_Wolf to wonder why Essex County Council had banned cyclists given the environmental benefits.
He said: “I suggest you remove this advice, we have every right, like any person who is driving, to bike onto the site. It is also discriminatory towards people with disabilities or mobility problems, and people with cargo bikes or trailers.”
Residents of the new states will be able to pre-book their slots starting Monday, February 27th. Blue Badge holders do not need to book a slot.
However, Essex County Council’s rules had added: “Pedestrians and cyclists transporting waste from their own home are also not required to book. Cyclists visiting recycling centers are asked to park their bikes at the pedestrian barrier and not bring them onto the site.
“There are no bike lanes where they can safely ride on the pedestrian lanes. Please note that any resident who parks outside and attempts to walk in rubbish will be denied entry.”
The activist, who dumps rubbish on a trailer attached to his bike, accuses the agency of autofocus.
He added: “I’ve been taking rubbish to the recycling center for years without incident, like I did last week. I suggest you change your mindset on car brain as we have to bike on the roads to get there and there is no more risk to bike with drivers on your locations.
“If I do not change this and attempt to prevent myself from accessing the recycling center, I will seek legal advice to prevent access for a person with a disability using their bicycle as a mobility aid.”
He added: “Honestly, policies like this shouldn’t be happening shouldn’t discourage people from taking trash to recycling sites with any cycles. It should be welcomed and encouraged.”
Other cycle users were quick to point out that West London Waste, the waste management authority for the London boroughs of Brent, Ealing, Harrow, Hillingdon, Hounslow and Richmond upon Thames, accepts bikes and trailers.
Charlotte Baker tweeted to Essex County Council: “Your guidance on the ref cycle in your recycling centers is silly. We cycle to our local center regularly and West London Waste couldn’t be more welcoming.”
2_Wheeled_Wolf has since received feedback from Essex County Council saying: “Thank you for reporting this. We want to work with our residents to get this study right. We consider this a priority and will update as soon as possible.”
A spokesman for Essex County Council said: “We welcome feedback from residents and are committed to working with residents to try and get the booking process right.
“We have prioritized this issue and are pleased to report that these guidelines have now been amended.
“When visiting our recycling depots, cyclists are welcome to ride their bikes without prior notice. Because recycling yards are busy operating environments, we advise cyclists to either queue with other vehicles or dismount and “walk” their bike on the pedestrian walkways.