Recycling centres across Hertfordshire reopened today after more than 40 days - but anyone thinking of making a trip to the tip may want to put the idea on hold.

That's because Hertfordshire County Council is reporting lengthy queues at some of its sites, with delays of two hours experienced already at Waterdale in Garston.

The county council has live cameras at its recycling sites and a system which is able to monitor how long it will take for visitors to dispose of their rubbish.

Strict social distancing guidelines are in place, to help limit any potential spread of coronavirus, with sites operating on a 'one in one out' system, with a limited number of vehicles allowed within the centre at any one time.

Once in the centre, visitors will be asked to follow identified pathways and queue, at a safe distance, to access each waste container.

This morning, the county council posted a photo of cars queuing on the A405 dual carriageway to get into the Waterdale waste tip in Garston.

Watford Observer:

This was the scene on the A405 this morning as tips reopened at 10am

As of 11.18am, the county council was estimating queues of two hours at Waterdale, however this has reduced to one hour, as of 1pm.

The council tweeted: "As expected, we're seeing some long queues at the ten Household Waste Recycling Centres that have reopened this morning. Please only visit if it's essential, and check the live information on queues on our website before you set off."

Queues are one hour at tips in Rickmansworth (as of 11.55am) and Potters Bar (as of 10.33am) , and one hour and 30 minutes in Harpenden (as of 12.20pm).

Watford Observer:

A camera at the tip in Waterdale. Credit: Herts County Council

Watford Observer:

A camera at the tip in Rickmansworth. Credit: Herts County Council

Watford Observer:

A camera at the tip in Harpenden. Credit: Herts County Council

Six other recycling sites are open across the county, but in other regions of Hertfordshire.

Recycling centres in St Albans, Hemel Hempstead, and Elstree remain closed as the council says it cannot operate safe social distancing measures at these sites at the moment.

To avoid queues and to ensure safety of staff and visitors, the county council stresses that journeys to the tip must be "essential".

The council defines essential visits as, for example, where storing the waste at home is a genuine health or safety risk.

Instead, people are encouraged to dispose of their waste through their local bin collections or continue to store at home.

Councillor Terry Hone, cabinet member for waste management, said: "Although these sites are reopening, I would urge people to only visit if it’s genuinely essential.

"Most types of waste can be put in normal kerbside bins for collection, or stored safely at home, and this is a much better option at the moment.

"The social distancing measures we’re putting in place to protect our staff and the public mean that visits will take a lot longer than normal and we’re expecting very long queues."

Recycling centres are operating on different hours - click here to see opening and closing times.

To check how long the queue is at a recycling centre and for live cameras, click here.