Traffic worries at Ashill tip

New health and safety rules at Ashill tip are causing serious traffic problems on a busy main road which could lead to accidents a parish council has warned.

New health and safety rules at Ashill tip are causing serious traffic problems on a busy main road which could lead to accidents a parish council has warned.

Cars are being forced to queue for long periods on a 60mph stretch on the B1077 between Watton and Swaffham because of a new traffic management system which has been introduced at Ashill Recycling Centre.

At peak times there can be anything up to 20 vehicles piled high with rubbish left with no choice but to wait on the main road, sometimes for as long as half-an-hour.

The chairman of Ashill Parish Council, Richard Leighton, called the traffic problem “an accident waiting to happen” and said the parish council had written to the county highways department calling on it to alter the road layout and install a lay by for vehicles to wait in.

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The council has said it has been forced to implement the new traffic management system to meet its obligations under the health and safety act but Mr Leighton said the system was anything but safe.

He said: “To quote health and safety and say it is safer to park on the road is nonsense.

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“I know of two accidents down there caused by traffic having to wait outside.

“We have contacted the council and said they need to build a lay by and told highways that it is an accident waiting to happen.”

It is understood that only three cars are now being allowed into the recycling centre at any one time.

Though small, the tip deals with waste from a wide area and since October 2004, when the tip at Beetley, near Dereham, closed, pressure on the facility has increased considerably with people coming from the market town and beyond to dispose of their waste.

Last month the county council said plans for a long awaited new tip in Dereham would not be unveiled before the summer and it is now unlikely that a site will be up and running before the end of 2009 at the earliest.

Dan Jacobs, a household waste technician at the council, said: “We are in the process of introducing traffic management plans at all 19 recycling centres in Norfolk to meet our health and safety obligations.

“The main priority is to ensure maximum on-site safety to make it as safe as possible for people to unload their recycling and waste.

“Since Norfolk County Council introduced options for a wide range of recycling for our customers, the increased number of containers on-site means less vehicle space on site.

“We appreciate that at busy times, the limited vehicle access on the Ashill site can be an issue and have worked with Highways to provide vehicle queue warning signs on the road outside of the site.”

Council recycling centres are now operating on summer opening times and are open from 8am to 6pm every day. The council has advised users to avoid weekends if they wish to be able to use the facilities more quickly.

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