A Belfast councillor has reiterated his call for councils to “work together” to allow residents to use recycling centres closest to their homes.

Former Lord Mayor Danny Baker was speaking after being inundated with calls from residents complaining about being unable to gain access to the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council run recycling centre at Derriaghy’s The Cutts.

“Historically the Colin area has always used this recycling centre as Colin was previously part of Lisburn council’s DEA (District Electoral Area),” said Danny. “The recycling centre at The Cutts is on our doorstep, for some residents it is only a few hundred yards away.

"Back in May I called on all the councils to work together to make it easier for people to reduce their travelling – at this stage people from the Colin area are being asked to go to the Kennedy Way depot which is seven miles away. For me, as Covid-19 restrictions are eased, it would make sense to allow residents from the Colin area to use this centre,” he said.

Councillor Baker said that he and community activists have seen an increase in dumping and fly-tipping in and around the Lagmore, Twinbrook and Barnfield Road areas.

“Once we clear the rubbish, the same spots are being polluted, I suspect people are using the back roads to empty out their rubbish on country roads. Rubbish, TVs, microwaves are being stacked against clothes and bottle banks. We believe it is a direct result of people not being able to use this recycling facility.

“A joined-up approach needs to happen,” said Councillor Baker. “Is this restriction going to become a permanent for rate payers? If so then we are on shaky ground in that what will the policy be – you can’t use the Falls Park unless you live in the area? It doesn’t make any sense to me. I am calling on the councils to again work together on a joined-up approach here. We are living in unprecedented times and not making things even more difficult for people.”

Mr Baker’s party colleague Gary McCleave who sits on Lisburn council and represents the Killultagh ward said he has written to the council asking for clarity on the issue.

"I have written to Lisburn and Castlereagh Council asking ‘is there a plan?’ Are these restrictions to be lifted? I am told it is under constant review but there is still no clarity from council as we continue to push this issue.

“Vehicles are being stopped for ID before they can access the centre at The Cutts, which in turn is causing traffic congestion along a junction which is renowned for accidents, this doesn’t help matters. If all councils were working together it would balance itself out. As I said we need clarity from the council which I have asked for.”

A spokesperson for Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council said: “Every council operates household recycling centres to allow their ratepayers to dispose of excess waste. Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council has considered the guidance issued by DAERA (Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs) and has taken steps accordingly to ensure that its residents can access its facilities at this time.”