LAST Monday was supposedly Freedom Day from some of the many Covid restrictions we have endured for the last 16 months.

Yet this message doesn't seem to have filtered through to Amey, the operators of our two recycling centres at Lynnbottom and Afton.

However, this is not entirely fair as while Amey operate the two sites, the policies for how they are run are set by the Isle of Wight Council.

Since May 2020, we have endured an appointment system whereby residents are limited to one visit per week (this was one visit every fortnight until recently), booked at least 24 hours in advance.

The appointments are booked on line only, so elderly residents without this facility have been unable to use the centres since March 2020.

The appointment system was introduced to limit the number of vehicles using the centres and, in theory at least, achieve some measure of social distancing.

Every alternate lane at Lynnbottom was cordoned off, although in April this measure was removed due to significant queues on Briddlesford Road, which presented a far higher risk of a fatality than the virus itself.

The appointment system seems set to continue, in spite of the centres operating outdoors.

Government scientists have rated this external environment as low risk from transmission of Covid,

The appointment system is clearly very convenient for Amey, as it reduces the amount of waste they have to dispose of.

But perhaps we should ask ourselves where this waste ends up?

Flytipping has increased significantly over the last 16 months and this inevitably results in costs to council tax payers when it has to be removed by Island Roads. Yet there is no evidence of increased prosecutions for fly tipping.

Most other councils in the UK have abandoned similar schemes — in fact the IW was in the minority in introducing such a scheme in the first place.

It is time for normal service to be resumed at our recycling centres, so that we have the facilities to dispose of our waste in an environmentally friendly manner and without the imposition of draconian, unnecessary control measures which have no benefit whatsoever to the health and wellbeing of the Island's residents.