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Poots to advise over opening of Northern Ireland recycling centres after council solo run

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Waste: Man uses the service

Waste: Man uses the service

Waste: Man uses the service

The Environment Minister is to issue advice on opening recycling centres during lockdown next week.

Mid and East Antrim Council split political opinion this week by choosing to open several facilities to the public from Monday.

None of the other 10 councils here have decided to open recycling centres.

First Minster Arlene Foster said yesterday that fly-tipping and waste issues were a serious concern, and that councils were entitled to make their own decision.

"But we do think that it is important that we all collaborate at this time and that we all work together," she said.

Mrs Foster said Edwin Poots was taking advice on the matter and would address it next week.

Secretary of State Brandon Lewis told the BBC: "I'm not going to criticise them for that as long as they're doing it for the right reason and following the guidelines.

"One of the challenges they will have is making sure both the staff and those who visit the centre can and do follow the guidelines."

It's understood that only residents of Mid and East Antrim are permitted to use the facilities, and will be asked for proof of address on arrival.

DUP MP Sammy Wilson said the council had shown leadership in opening a "vital service" to the public as lockdown has been extended for a further three weeks.

Sinn Fein's group leader on Mid and East Antrim Council James McKeown said the measure was taken "too soon" and believes the council should "review the decision".

A council spokesperson said the decision was debated at length and was reasonable and appropriate.

Belfast Telegraph