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Thousands expected as Kent tips open their gates for the first time since lockdown

Kent's recycling centres are due to open today, with thousands expected to make a long-awaited first trip to the tip since lockdown.

On Wednesday, Kent County Council launched its new booking system – designed to regulate the number of visitors – but online users were faced with queues of 15,000 people as they tried to book a coveted slot.

Pepper Hill recycling centre, Northfleet
Pepper Hill recycling centre, Northfleet

Last week, the council revealed all 18 centres would reopen across the county, less than two months after they closed as a result of the coronavirus lockdown.

The sites will be open between 9am and 3pm but users have to negotiate a new system, booking slots either online or by phone.

The number of bookings vary between sites, depending on their size, and users can only book one trip in any four-week period, with bookings only accepted from Kent and Medway residents.

Visitors to the tip will be faced with new rules and security measures when they arrive, with users asked to bring their proof of booking email, either printed or displayed on a phone, or their booking reference number if the slot was booked over the phone.

You should not try to book a visit if you have symptoms of Covid-19, if you are part of a household undertaking 14-day isolation or if you are someone who is in the shielded category.

To reduce infection risk car windows should remain closed when showing proof to staff.

Users will need to observe the social distancing measures when visiting the sites and site staff will not be able to help unload and dispose of waste.

Security will be in place at the centres, including Automatic Number Plate Recognition, CCTV and body-worn cameras, and sites may need to close temporarily for cleaning with no warning.

Read more: all the latest news from Kent.

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