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20th May 2020

COVID-19 update from Wiltshire Council

COVID-19 UPDATE – Tuesday 19 May 2020

Good evening

Please see the latest COVID-19 update.

Household Recycling Centre Update

All of Wiltshire’s household recycling centres (HRCs), bar Stanton St Quintin, reopened yesterday. As anticipated, there have been high volumes of visits to the sites on both days, with significant queues throughout the day in most locations. However, the queues were well managed by the on-site marshals. We have noticed that sites appear to be significantly busier in the morning than in the afternoon so please continue to support our messaging as we encourage people to either wait a few weeks before visiting or visit later in the day to avoid the early morning queues.

Measures to observe social distancing and maintain the safety of staff and public have been rolled out across all sites, and regular updates on the queue times at each site have been provided throughout the day to residents via council communication channels and partner media outlets, alongside key messages to remind people of the new arrangements in place.

Initial reports from the HRCs indicate that the postcode tracker system is working effectively and the majority of visitors are aware of requirements around opening times, permissible materials, vehicle types and occupant numbers. We will continue to review and amend the postcode tracker and develop our guidance so please check our website for updates.

We expect demand to continue to be high during this initial opening phase, so please encourage people to delay their visit to an HRC if at all possible to minimise queuing time and remind them to check the FAQs on the council website before they set off.

Highways Update

Following the announcement of the COVID-19 lockdown by Government in late March, many more people have been walking and cycling for exercise purposes or to access essential services. Because of the reduction in traffic, people have largely been able to do this in a safe manner.

However, as the COVID-19 lockdown is eased, increased levels of traffic will make it more difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to safely achieve the 2m social distancing requirement and to travel and exercise safely. The importance of this is heightened by the Government advice for people to avoid using public transport where possible and to instead walk, cycle, or drive.

In response to the above situation, the Department for Transport (DfT) issued the following new statutory guidance on 9 May 2020; 'Traffic Management Act 2004: network management in response to COVID-19’ which sets out an expectation for local authorities to make significant changes to their road layouts to give more space to cyclists and pedestrians.

The guidance states that local authorities, where public transport use is low, should be considering all possible measures and that these measures should be taken as swiftly as possible, and in any event within weeks.

In response, the council has formed multi-disciplinary teams of Officers for each community area who have initially been asked to identify potential sites and measures using their local and technical knowledge. Given the Government’s timescale requirements and the growing on-the-ground need, it is not proposed to carry out an extensive consultation process either with stakeholders or the public.

Rather, officers will liaise with local Members (through Area Boards) and city, town and parish councils to further identity potential sites and measures using their local knowledge. In addition, suggestions from members of the public, stakeholders, partners and other bodies will be considered. Ultimately, it is proposed that all potential schemes will be assessed against the agreed criteria by a panel of officers to identify a priority list for design and implementation. Where applicable, measures will also be subject to a Road Safety Audit and accessibility audit prior to implementation.

Most proposals are not likely to require Temporary Traffic Regulation Orders (TTRO), but where they are required these will be subject to consultation and Cabinet Member approval in accordance with the latest DfT guidance.

Members and the relevant city, town or parish councils will be informed of the intention to install the measure. Should you have any queries or suggestions, could you please forward it to Integrated Transport at the following address: Integrated.Transport@wiltshire.gov.uk

The priority to complete this work will mean that this will be the focus of the teams who would normally complete Community Area Transport Group (CATG) work. CATG projects will be suspended (unless currently working onsite) until it is practical to recommence.

Mental Health Awareness Week

Yesterday marked the start of Mental Health Awareness Week and young people in the county, including Members of the Wiltshire Youth Parliament, have shared their own experiences and wellbeing tips on how to manage everyday life during COVID-19 (click here to read more).

Mental health issues can affect people of all ages and young people are no exception, so it is vital that we continue to raise awareness of such an important issue and ensure young people have access to the support they need, which includes the following:

The On Your Mind website has online resources and details of the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust 24/7 mental health helpline for children, young people and parents/carers.
9am – 5pm 01865 903777 – 5pm to 9am and weekends 01865 90100
Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) 01865 903889
Kooth online anonymous counselling service
Young carer support is available with Carer Support Wiltshire

Cabinet Meeting – Tuesday, 19 May, 2020

Cabinet held its first virtual meeting today which included a formal update on the council’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The meeting went well and thank you to members and officers for their participation and support throughout. You can view the papers from the meeting on our website https://cms.wiltshire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=141&MId=13064


Regards


Cllr Philip Whitehead

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