Vans, pick-ups and trailers will be able to pre-book at Essex recycling centres to help reduce congestion in 2022, Essex County Council has announced.

Larger sites including Saffron Walden, Harlow and Braintree will have one-hour slots through a booking system for drivers to unload.

Councillor Malcolm Buckley, the county council’s cabinet member for waste, said the aim was to speed up the flow of traffic through the recycling centres, and reduce the level of queuing that has in places spilled out on the main roads.

He said: “At the present time we take waste from vans at larger sites and we have smaller sites where we only permit cars to take waste.

“The reason is that in general vans tend to carry more waste than a car so then take a lot longer to unload.

"What has happened is we have had ended up with queuing and congestion that has disrupted traffic flow elsewhere.

“Colchester has been affected when queuing goes onto the roads and causes congestion for local residents.

“From a wider point of view if we have queuing traffic we have more emissions and the less we have vehicles queuing the better.”

He said one of the issues that still needs resolving is how or whether vans would be able to enter the centre for their allotted one-hour slot.

The idea of allowing vans to jump queues is not being considered.

He added: “That is one of the wrinkles that we have to establish. We don’t think that is likely to be a problem because the throughflow of cars is quite quick and the slot the van has will be an hour.

“By having a booking system we can avoid all the vans turning up at once.”

He added: “The whole purpose of a trial is we can change it or even withdrawn it if it doesn’t work as we wish.”

The council has been employing Covid-19 measures since the start of the pandemic.

Cllr Buckley said: “Bearing in mind they are open air and we have restricted the number of vehicles in each site I don’t think we will need to introduce additional precautions but I would emphasise what the government says and wear a mask.”

The recycling centres taking part will be Braintree, Brentwood, Chelmsford, Clacton, Colchester, Harlow, Maldon, Pitsea and Saffron Walden.