Coronavirus - Recovery Phase

Updates and information about the recovery phase

Recycling Centres open Monday 1 June

Recycling Centres in West Lothian are open.

They remained closed due to restrictions on non-essential travel which have been in place across the country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • All five centres - Oakbank (Livingston), Whitburn, Linlithgow, Broxburn and Blackburn - will re-open from Monday 1 June.  
  • All centres will open 7 days a week, 10am - 6pm.  
  • Members of the public are being advised to expect changes at centres to ensure they comply with social distancing guidelines and operate safely for both staff and customers.
  • Queuing is likely at times and customers can expect to have to wait to gain access. If customers do not have an urgent need to dispose of items, they are being advised to hold off visiting the sites initially to avoid queues.
  • Only cars will be allowed access to Recycling Centres, with no trailers or vans allowed at this stage. This is in line with national guidance and is aimed at reducing congestion.
  • There will also be changes to the site layouts and drop off process. A limited number of parking bays will be available at each Recycling Centre and staff will be on hand to direct customers when they enter. Each bay provides access to a bagged waste skip and a bulky waste skip. Customers will be asked to remain in their vehicle until they are directed to a parking bay and will not be able to leave their bay as the rest of the site is closed.
  • Customers must ensure that they maintain a 2 metre distance from others at all times.
  • Staff will not be able to help unload vehicles so if customers require assistance to dispose of waste in skips, they should bring someone from their own household with them.
  • Licencing requirements prevent the council from accepting electrical items, gas bottles, tyres, asbestos or liquids (such as paint and oil) at this time.

Jim Jack, Head of Operational Services said:

"Our focus is to allow as many customers as possible to dispose of waste safely. We anticipate the sites will be very busy and traffic queues are likely. To mitigate this additional traffic management measures are in place on access roads and to ensure users safety within the sites themselves. We have also taken steps to reduce the time needed for customers to dispose of their material safely."

"We'd ask customers follow the instructions given and to be patient as queues are likely at peak times.  We do appreciate that customers will want to dispose of items currently stored in sheds and garages but we would ask them to consider the timing of doing so to help reduce unnecessary journeys and queues in the initial reopening period. The sites are open 7 days a week so there should be no need to rush to the sites for many residents in the initial opening period."

"The layouts on sites are very different and staff will be on hand to direct customers, but they cannot help physically. Due to the way in which we are processing waste, there are also a number of items that we cannot accept at the moment. Our focus at this stage is to allow us to allow access to centres as safely as possible, so some restrictions on what can be disposed of are necessary for a short time."

"It's very important that customers follow the instructions onsite."

Executive councillor for the Environment Tom Conn said: "This is a positive step forward and I'm sure it will be welcomed by many customers particularly given that each centre is open 7 days a week.  We know it has been inconvenient for many customers not being able to access their local recycling centre. However the message was don't travel unless it was essential and travelling to a centre was not classed as essential. The centres are now re-opening and we'd urge customers to be patient if they choose to visit the centres in the initial re-opening phase."


Schools summer programme prioritised

Projects planned to improve the local school estate will be prioritised this summer in an effort to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus.

During each holiday period, the council has a dedicated programme of improvement works across many local schools which can range from large projects to relatively minor maintenance upgrades. This summer around 100 projects were due to be completed. However the council relies upon contractors to undertake building work and the Coronavirus, and subsequent lockdown period has had a significant impact on the construction industry.

Some projects within West Lothian Council's school summer improvement programme will be delayed as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic but  the council is focussing on progressing projects this summer that are deemed to be priority works. Other planned projects that were due to be undertaken over the summer months will either be re-phased until later in the year and carried out during term time if possible, or postponed until next year.

David Dodds, Executive councillor for Education said: "Some key Early Learning and Childcare projects will begin soon, hopefully, but that depends on the green light being provided by the Government.

"However others will have to be re-programmed into the school term and others are still uncertain and depend on a number of factors. There is still some uncertainty about some works as we are awaiting confirmation that contractors are available to complete the work. 

"The council relies upon both internal and external contractors to undertake building work and the challenges that building contractors and the sector overall is going through has been well-publicised. Our team will continue to prioritise work and do what they can to get as much work undertaken as quickly as possible, however there is little doubt that there will be a significant impact on our current summer programme of works."

Donald Forrest, Head of Finance and Property Services added: "The summer programme includes approximately 100 individual projects across our school estate. There is still a lot of uncertainty around at present and our programme is being kept under constant review during this time. It is not possible to identify exactly when we will be able to complete all projects but our team will send out weekly updates in advance of the summer holiday period commencing which will highlight any changes."