DAERA Minister welcomes the re-opening of garden centres and household waste recycling centres (HWRC) from Monday, as the Executive takes its first, small steps towards recovery.
Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister, Edwin Poots MLA, asked the Executive to lift restrictions on garden centres and HWRCs, which was agreed at Thursday’s (14 May 2020) meeting.
Minister Poots said: “Following the Executive meeting yesterday and after considering the most up-to-date scientific and medical advice, I welcome the decision to re-open garden centres from Monday and the clarity provided for the public, that they are allowed to travel to household waste recycling centres.
“We continue to ask people to leave the house as little as possible, but we must also give them the opportunity to be productive at home. As we move out of the spring months and into summertime, people want to get their garden into bloom so they can enjoy their outdoor spaces.
“I therefore particularly welcome the re-opening of garden centres. The horticulture sector was reaching a critical tipping point, as sales crashed and profits plummeted – with only a very short trading window for summer bedding plants. Allowing people to visit garden centres while remaining safe, will provide a much needed injection of cash to these businesses that will help the future sustainability of the local industry.”
On HWRCs, the Minister said: “I would now urge councils, who have yet to do so, to re-open their household waste recycling centres as soon as is safely possible. This will allow people to recycle and dispose of their household and garden waste appropriately and responsibly.
“Irrespective of the pressures of the current crisis, the increase in fly-tipping recently observed in our countryside has been inexcusable and must stop. It has polluted and damaged our local environment.”
The Minister continued: “Both garden centres and HWRCs have put in place strict social distancing measures to protect their staff and customers. I’m sure everyone will welcome their re-opening and I urge everyone to adhere to the new, safer ways of visiting and using them.”