Richmond Council have announced a mandatory booking system for people hoping to use the Townmead waste and recycling centre over concerns about overcrowding.

Since quarantine measures have been lifted queues sometimes lasting over two hours have been reported at the centre as people flock to use services there after months of lockdown.

Yet the ongoing threat of coronavirus and the continued need for physical distancing measures prompted the council to announce a booking system last week.

They hope it will lessen the chances of long queues occurring at the site that the safe distancing measures on their own can create.

Announcing details of the new appointment system on Thursday (July 9) a spokesperson for Richmond Council said:

"Since the centre reopened when lockdown measures were eased, there has been a significant number of visitors.

"Due to the reduced capacity available on site, as a result of social distancing measures, queue times have sometimes reached two hours.

"The new online system will reduce the queues and will improve health and safety controls on site to keep residents and staff safe."

The new system will go live from next Monday, July 20.

Visitors arriving after 20 July 2020 without a booking will be turned away and not be allowed entry, the council said.

"We have had to implement several social distancing measures and restrictions on each site, which has meant that we can have fewer vehicles at the centre at once," Environment and Sustainability Committee Chair Julia Neden-Watts said.

“However, to alleviate queues in the long term, this new online booking system will enable people to book a slot at the recycling centre up to two weeks in advance," she added.

"This should also save residents time, as they can book a slot, turn up, dispose of their waste and then carry on with their day.

“We expect demand to be very high initially, but new slots are added each day, so if you can’t get a slot, please try again the next day.”

Residents can book an appointment from July 20 by following this link.