Ards and North Down: Booking needed to use recycling centres

Man recycling glass at the recycling bins - stock photo
New entry rules have been introduced at household recycling centres in Ards and North Down from Monday

Residents in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area now have to book in advance before using household recycling centres.

Some recycling centres in Northern Ireland operated similar booking systems during the Covid-19 pandemic.

But Ards and North Down is the first council to introduce it at all sites, on a permanent basis.

Bookings can be made online or by telephone, up to 30 minutes before an allocated time.

The council believes that by managing access there will be a reduction in queues at busy times, and an overall increase in recycling.

Some residents have complained that the booking system will deter users and lead to an increase in fly-tipping.

The council has said there is no evidence of this in parts of Great Britain, which already operate a similar scheme.

The new system is operating at recycling centres in Bangor, Holywood, Newtownards, Donaghadee, Ballygowan, Kircubbin, Millisle, Portaferry and Comber.

Sign informing residents that entry to Ards and North Down recycling centres must be pre-booked
Signs have been erected informing residents of the new rules

Access is restricted to householders in the council area, and personal details are checked before entry.

To book a slot online, residents must provide:

  • An email address

  • Vehicle registration

  • The type of waste being brought

Rule changes

BBC News correspondent Mark Simpson

The new system began operating on Monday at 08:00 BST, with no problems reported in the first few hours.

Council staff were not rigorously enforcing the new rules as there is a two-week adjustment period for the scheme.

Residents who turned up late for their allocated slot were still being allowed into recycling centres.

The biggest test will come at the weekend when centres are normally at their busiest.

A spokesperson for Ards and North Down Council said the move would help it achieve its environmental objectives and would increase recycling rates.

The council aims to have a recycling rate of 70% by 2030.

The spokesperson also said the move would "significantly reduce the cost" of disposing of waste by stopping commercial companies and people from outside the council area from using the centres.

Sign informing residents that they require proof of address
The facilities are restricted to residents who can show proof of their address in the Ards and North Down area

In the other 10 council areas in Northern Ireland, each has their own arrangements:

  • Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council - Photo ID and proof of address required

  • Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council - No proof of residency required

  • Belfast City Council - Proof of residency not required. Residents using vans/light vehicles must book online

  • Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council - Proof of residency not required

  • Derry City and Strabane District Council - Booking is required at two of 11 sites

  • Fermanagh and Omagh District Council - Proof of address may be requested

  • Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council - Access is only for residents and proof of address may be required

  • Mid and East Antrim Borough Council - Proof of residency required

  • Mid Ulster District Council - Proof of residency may be required at Tullyvar, near Aughnacloy

  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council - Proof of residency is not required but an online booking system is in place for large vehicle access

More details of the specific arrangements are on the council websites.