Hundreds more people will be able to dump their rubbish at the tip from today, with longer opening hours and less strict social distancing rules.
Stoke-on-Trent City Council reopened both the Hanford and Federation Road household waste recycling centres last month following coronavirus-related temporary closures.
Since then both tips have seen lengthy queues as thousands of families have looked to get rid of mountains of lockdown waste.
Some residents say the queues have been exacerbated by overly strict social distancing rules, which limit the number of vehicles allowed on each site. Opening hours have also been limited to 9am to 4pm.
But from today, these rules will be relaxed, with both tips reverting to their usual summer opening times. The maximum number of vehicles allowed on site will increase from four to eight at Hanford, and from three to five at Federation Road, in Burslem.
Holders of permits – which are required for the use of trailers or commercial-type vehicles at the tips – will also be able to visit both sites again.
The council says that since the tips reopened 6,463 vehicles have unloaded a total of 222 tonnes of waste at both sites – the equivalent of 550 race horses.
This has included 137 tonnes of black bag or household waste, a higher proportion than normal. There has also been an increase in garden waste and wood.
Council leader Abi Brown said: “We’ve been carefully monitoring the usage of the tips and we feel that it is now safe to relax the rules a little bit more in terms of allowing more people to use them.
“Our biggest concern was around social distancing, but people have been really good at abiding by the rules which has allowed us to makes these changes now. There are also less traffic management issues now which means we can revert back to the normal opening hours.
“But apart from the opening hours going back to normal, there are still restrictions in place, and they may be there for a while. We will keep reviewing the situation.”
Hanford tip will be open Wednesday to Friday, from 8am to 5.30pm, and 8am to 4.30pm at the weekend.
Federation will be open from 9am to 5.30pm on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, and from 9am to 4.30pm at the weekend.
Traffic management systems, with passwords to prevent queue jumping, will remain in place at both sites.
Labour councillor Alastair Watson previously called for the restrictions at Hanford tip to be loosened after he was stuck in a queue for nearly two hours.
He said: “There’s room on that site for several five-a-side football pitches, so I’m glad that they are opening it up a bit more now.
“I don’t think the council should ever have closed the tips – that was never government guidance.”
There has been a 20 per cent increase in the weight of all waste in Stoke-on-Trent, since the lockdown started in March. Much of this increase has been glass bottles in blue recycling bins, as people have been drinking more at home while the pubs are shut.