A WORKER at a recycling centre in Worcester has called for the county council to introduce a booking system after a colleague was spat at when he turned a vehicle away in order to limit the number of people at the site due to coronavirus safety regulations.

Derek, 67, who didn’t want to mention his second name, works at the Household Recycling Centre on Bilford Road in Worcester. He believes a booking-based appointment system should be introduced because it would be safer for staff and visitors due to the high numbers attending.

But county councillor Tony Miller, cabinet member for the environment, said residents didn’t want a booking system so there are no plans to introduce one.

Derek said: “Just after the first lockdown there were cars queuing on Bilford Road to get into the tip and we were asked to turn these cars away, and someone in their vehicle spat at my colleague when he turned them away.”

The recycling centre is currently open from 8am to 6pm from Monday to Saturday and from 10am to 4pm on Sunday.

Derek, who currently works at the recycling centre once a week, added: “Things have got worse with the new variant (of Covid), and when I went back to work during this lockdown I was told by a colleague that some people were not taking it seriously. He told me he had been seeing people coming to the tip three times a day, and I saw the same on the day I worked.

“At times every car bay was full - it becomes difficult for people to socially distance. There have been times when we have had to turn people away. Most people are great and appreciative that we are open but some, like mentioned, have been aggressive.

“Every now and again you get someone not willing to socially distance, so why not go with a booking system where it’s safer for the staff and the public?”

Derek said the Health and Safety officer for Severn Waste Services, which runs the facility for the county council, told him the company operates a booking system in Herefordshire. 

Worcestershire county councillor Tony Miller, said the council is looking into the spitting incident and are currently working to ensure staff at the site feel safe while at work, but he said a booking system won’t be implemented.

He said: “We give all the guidance, but some members of the public do not seem to be taking any notice, although the majority are very good, one or two as always just have no regard for the people working at the tip and they treat them as though they are their servants.

“We have looked at implementing a booking system, and we have really examined booking systems that have been done elsewhere, but we feel that this facility is a service that we give to the public and it’s a service they can go to anytime and use, and it’s something they really do cherish that they can go there without booking.

“After speaking to the public, the booking system was not favoured, and if we don’t listen to our residents then we’re not working with them.

“We operated a road traffic system at this facility at points during lockdown because many people were using it, and that was a very costly exercise because of the man power that had to be used.

“But at the moment we are not in favour of the booking system and we will not be implementing one.

“We will continue to monitor it and it’s never say never, but we look at what our residents require.”

Under the government’s new lockdown rules, people in England must stay at home and only go out for essential reasons.