Category Archives: Surrey News Updates

Phased reopening of most of Surrey’s community recycling centres (CRC) from Monday 11 May

There will be a phased reopening of most of Surrey’s community recycling centres (CRC) from Monday 11 May. To make sure that each facility can operate in line with Public Health England guidelines, and to protect the safety of our staff and our residents, there will be restrictions in place.

However, there are limits to the numbers of people on each site, changes to what materials are accepted and revised opening hours. Due to the fewer numbers of people who can safely be on site and the impact of potential queuing on surrounding roads, our smaller sites in Bagshot, Caterham, Cranleigh, Dorking and Warlingham will remain closed.

Residents should only use the CRCs if they absolutely need to, and must check for the latest information before they travel at surreycc.gov.uk/recycling or by calling 03456 009 009 as these arrangements are subject to change.

As outlined in DEFRA guidance, journeys to waste sites are only allowed under the lockdown restrictions if the waste materials cannot be stored at home without causing risk of injury or harm to health. Please see the Government’s guidance about essential travel (GOV.UK)

Covid-19 Testing in Surrey

As you will be aware, there has been a significant focus on COVID-19 swab testing in line with national guidance. This has been developing and progressing swiftly at a local level and in response to the guidance and the requirement to expand the testing capability quickly, a core group of system partners from Health and Care Partners has been set up. This group will co-ordinate the delivery of coronavirus testing to all eligible people across Surrey.


CURRENT STATUS

The team is working hard to review and target priority areas first, with a view on using all the options available to build resource to meet the demand. The council is aware that this approach needs to be urgently stepped up and will be updating you as we continue to develop plans for achieving this target.

Who is eligible for a test?

Essential workers living or working in Surrey, who are self-isolating either because they have symptoms or someone in their household has symptoms, are eligible to register with Surrey’s testing hub.

Essential workers are those outlined in the Government’s list of essential workers prioritised for testing. We continue to expand our testing capacity to include new groups as part of the Government’s phased approach.

These new groups eligible for testing are:

  • anyone over 65 with symptoms
  • anyone with symptoms whose work cannot be done from home (for example, construction workers, shop workers, emergency plumbers and delivery drivers)
  • anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus and lives with any of those identified above

Anyone who falls into one of the new groups eligible for testing should use the self-referral portal for now.

We are building up the testing capacity to ensure that all care home residents and staff with symptoms are being tested. This will be rolled out shortly to include all care home residents and staff, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.

NEXT STEPS

The safety of residents and patients is our priority and we are working at pace to ensure we can meet the local need. We will update on progress. In the meantime if you have any specific comments or queries, please do email – surreycovidtesting@surreycc.gov.uk

Surrey County Council’s Climate Change Strategy

On Tuesday this week, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet endorsed Surrey’s Climate Change Strategy.

I was part of the members scrutiny group that worked on the report.  I believe it’s a very positive step forward, although I had hoped the strategy would include more specific targets, for example, on modal shift to less polluting transport modes.

The shared ambition of Surrey’s 12 local authorities is that our residents live in clean, safe and green communities, where people and organisations embrace their environmental responsibilities. In support of this ambition – and the council’s commitment to the county achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 – Surrey’s Climate Change Strategy sets out a collective approach to do our part to tackle climate change. You can read here the Summary: Surrey’s Climate Change Strategy.

Some Surrey County Council updates

If you are feeling low or isolated

Surrey County Council has launched a Surrey wide campaign aimed at offering advice and support for those struggling or feeling low during the COVID-19 outbreak. If you or someone you care about is struggling, there’s lots of mental wellbeing support available. For information on free local services in Surrey and self-help resources visit: healthysurrey.org.

Confidential Helpline Phone: 0808 802 5000 24 hours, 7 days a week

SMS Text: 07537 432411 Staffed Monday to Friday 9am-2pm

Jenrick to ask councils to reopen Household Waste Recycling Centres in coming weeks

Robert Jenrick, the Secretary for Housing, Communities and Local Government, has said that local authorities will be asked to “plan the organised opening” of Household Waste Recycling Centres (HWRCs) in the coming weeks.

Speaking in the House of Commons yesterday (28 April), Jenrick stated: “Today I can announce that I am asking councils to plan the organised opening of household waste collection sites. I expect this to happen over the coming weeks, and I will be publishing amended guidance shortly.”

Surrey County Council and the wider Surrey Environment Partnership are keen to see our services getting back to normal as soon as possible and we are working with our contractor to develop a plan to re-open our Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRCs) as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.

The current government advice is clear that the public should Stay Home and only make essential journeys at this time. This will protect the NHS and save lives. While restrictions remain in place and travelling to a CRC is not deemed to be an essential journey, the CRC’s need to remain closed. We understand that this is inconvenient, and Surrey County Council is committed to extending CRC opening hours once the current restrictions are lifted.

Urgent dental care services across the South East

Background

Since the Prime Minister announced social distancing measures to slow down the spread of COVID-19, a set of restrictions on daily activity to contain the spread of the virus were introduced.

All non-urgent dental activity has stopped in line with the changes to people’s everyday lives that the Prime Minister has signalled. In light of public health infection control measures and continuing concerns about NHS dental care staff safety, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) has made significant changes to the delivery and operation of our dental services in the South East region.

Please read the full document here. This informs you how to access urgent dental care.

Some News Updates from Surrey County Council

Library uptake doubles in lockdown

The number of people joining Surrey libraries has doubled since library buildings closed as part of the coronavirus lockdown, according to the latest figures from Surrey County Council.

Haslemere Library before lockdown

On top of this, over 4,000 online books, comics and magazines were downloaded last month – ten times the average number of downloads a month. Proving that despite buildings being closed, the county’s libraries are still very much open.

Thousands of children across the county have been enjoying Digital Rhyme Time sessions on Facebook.

To make the most of their ‘libraries from home’, Surrey residents
can find lots of activities and resources for both children and young
people, as well as adults on this website.

Community recycling centres to remain closed for now

Surrey County Council and the wider Surrey Environment Partnership are keen to see services getting back to normal as soon as possible and we are working with our contractor to develop a plan to re-open our Household Waste Recycling Sites (HWRCs) as soon as it is safe and practical to do so.

The government advice is clear that the public should Stay Home and only make essential journeys at this time. This will protect the NHS and save lives. Therefore, community recycling centres will remain closed until this advice changes.

Waste staff are key workers performing a vital service and protecting household collections is our priority. We are ensuring other higher priority waste services, such as kerbside collections, are maintained and our CRC staff are now supporting short-staffed household collection crews and making sure those crews still have somewhere to take refuse for disposal.

We would ask residents to please hold onto any excess waste. Surrey Joint Waste Solutions has a number of tips on how residents can manage your waste more effectively.

In a letter to Ministers yesterday, the County Councils Network (CCN) has reinforced the message that unless restrictions around the lockdown are changed the CRCs need to remain closed. But it adds that should the Government’s restrictions around essential travel change, Council’s would do everything they could to support the reopening of sites and would manage this safely.

It also stresses that in light of staff having been redeployed to household waste kerbside collection there is a fear across Council’s that reopening CRCs would affect this vital service. The CCN outlines that there is a strong case for continuing to prioritise garden waste and bulk collections of household waste before HWRCs are reopened.’

While restrictions remain in place and travelling to a CRC is not deemed to be an essential journey, the CRC’s need to remain closed.

We understand that this is inconvenient, and Surrey County Council is committed to extending CRC opening hours once the current restrictions are lifted.

Help for charities supporting relief effort

Surrey County Council has announced a £100k contribution towards the Community Foundation for Surrey (CFS) to supplement their Coronavirus Response Fund that offers support of up to £5k to smaller charities and voluntary bodies.

Already more than £350k in emergency funding to help our most vulnerable residents has been distributed by The Community Foundation for Surrey (CFS), a philanthropic charity which brings together local donors to support voluntary groups across Surrey providing vital services.

Community Helpline

Calls continue to come into the Surrey County Council Community Helpline at a rate of 200 per day.

The next focus of offering help will be highlighting a telephone befriending service for those feeling isolated and lonely. Several volunteer groups are waiting behind the scenes to offer this support to residents. 0300 200 1008.

Council Leader Tim Oliver visited the Community Food Hub at the Guildford Spectrum to see the relief being coordinated to Surrey’s most vulnerable residents with food boxes. Watch the video here.

In Haslemere, a local group of 300+ volunteers called HaslemereHelp is supporting residents with shopping, collecting prescriptions and befriending. This amazing effort has been supported by collaboration with John Robini – the town mayor, the town clerk, Haslemere Health Centre, local supermarket Waitrose and local residents” associations. Here are HaslemereHelp’s contact details:

Bereavement support

When someone dies, there are many decisions and arrangements to be made. Unfortunately, these decisions and arrangements are required at a time of great personal distress and sadness.

Surrey County Council is working with local funeral directors, faith groups and supporting charities and they will be able to support you through the process in the coming days. It’s more important than ever that you take the time to look after your own needs too.

When faced with bereavement we normally look to our friends and family for support. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing situation this may not be as easy as it normally would.

As we deal with higher volumes of deaths, we must ensure that decisions are made as quickly as possible, while remaining mindful of the individual circumstances and wishes of each deceased person and their family.

We’re working with local funeral directors, faith groups and supporting charities who are on hand to help and support our communities through this difficult time.

For information on support available and how you register a death, you can visit Surrey County Council’s Coronavirus webpages or read the council’s Bereavement Advice leaflet here.

Surrey History Centre

With Surrey History Centre closed to the public, staff across the service have worked incredibly hard to develop a range of activities, learning resources and projects:

Covid Diaries They are inviting people to share their experiences of life during the lockdown by keeping a ‘Covid Diary’ and also sharing their photographs with us of how life has changed so rapidly across the county. Full details of the project will be found here.

BBC Surrey and Sussex have taken up the story and will be feature a piece this Saturday morning around 10.15am.

Educational and Online Activities There is also a wide range of online learning resources and activities for all ages available via the website

Urgent request from Surrey County Council for PPE

Press Release : Press Release : Press Release : Press Release

Following the government announcement yesterday (17 April 2020) that there is now an extreme shortage of PPE, Surrey County Council is urgently appealing for volunteers to help supply items for Surrey’s frontline workers.

With demand for PPE nationally and globally reaching unprecedented levels, social workers, care home staff, volunteers and others need items such as gowns, aprons and masks which skilled volunteers may be able to assist with, based on a Public Health England standard.

Leader of Surrey County Council, Tim Oliver said: “As a county council we continue to do all we can to source more Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for frontline workers to ensure they have the right protection against Covid-19, but there is simply not enough supply coming into the county, indeed nationally, and this situation is now very urgent indeed.

“That is why we are now appealing to the wealth of skilled and talented people across the county – from university students to business owners and seamstresses, who may be able to assist us in producing personal protective equipment, such as gowns and masks.

“This is a time when so many communities are pulling together. I hope the public will hear our call and come to our aid so we can do all we can to protect our frontline workers who are working so tirelessly on our behalf.”

Anyone that can help is asked to get in touch as soon as possible via ppe.donations@surreycc.gov.uk to offer their assistance.

Surrey County Council is stressing that all items will need to be made to a specification outlined by Public Health England. Please get in touch to discuss how you can help and we will then provide this ASAP.

Surrey County Council would still welcome contact from businesses who are able to support and would also encourage them to email us directly with any offers of support.

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Changes to parking enforcement due to the coronavirus

I received this update from Surrey County Council regarding parking enforcement for on street and off parking. This action is intended to support NHS staff and key workers.

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In light of coronavirus and the government’s instruction to self-isolate and maintain social distancing, we understand that residents are working and staying at home more than usual. This has changed parking patterns and we are adjusting our parking enforcement approach accordingly. For the time being the district and borough council parking enforcement teams in Surrey will:

  • Not enforce parking on single yellow lines in quiet residential roads
  • Issue temporary parking permits for car parks or on street parking schemes where they consider it appropriate to do so
  • Provide more flexible arrangements in council car parks where appropriate

All on street parking charges have been suspended until further notice and NHS responders / volunteers and carers can park for free in council car parks and on street.

Parking on double yellow lines or zig zags or on single yellow lines on main roads and in town centres could be dangerous and will be enforced as normal. During this time it is important to remember that essential public services will need to maintain access to homes and facilities so please park considerately.

Check your district or borough council parking enforcement web pages for further information in your area.

Information from here: https://www.surreycc.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/parking/coronavirus

Outcome of South Western Railway consultation into late night and early morning services

I have received an update from South Western Railways following their consultation re late night/early morning services. Kindly read below:

Dear Nikki,

I am writing to let you know that following last Autumn’s public consultation into changes to late night/early morning services, we will be pressing ahead with the improvements on a trial basis from December 2020. As a result, passengers will benefit from:

  • More late night services on Fridays and Saturdays
  • A more reliable railway for everyone
  • Less overrunning engineering works

Although this will mean the withdrawal or retiming of a small number of late night/early morning services on Sunday-Thursday affecting around 400 passengers, by allowing Network Rail additional time for engineering work we will deliver a more reliable railway for the hundreds of thousands of passengers who travel on the network every day.

The full results of the consultation are available at: www.southwesternrailway.com/consultation