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County Councillor Report (Nov 2020)

County Councillor Report

November 2020

by Wendy Pattison

wendy.pattison@northumberland.gov.uk – Tel. 07779 983072

And also on Facebook: Cllr Wendy Pattison

County Councillor Wendy Pattison Northumberland

[All text and images provided by Cllr Wendy Pattison and used with permission. Received on 28 October 2020.]

Hedgeley Parish

Coastal Summit

The Coastal Summit will take place at 5pm on Wednesday, November 11th. The high influx of visitors/holiday makers has brought economic benefits to the County and this was welcomed by many. However, it is fully recognised that this has placed a strain on the local infrastructure and created issues for communities/residents. This in turn has created local concern amongst the communities which have been most affected, primarily, the 16 Town and Parish Councils that lie within the Northumberland Coast Area of Natural Beauty.

The meeting will be live streamed and can be viewed on the YouTube channel at: youtube.com/NorthumberlandTV

Extra funding to support communities through COVID schemes  

Northumberland County Council has announced it is taking new steps to help county councillors to provide COVID related support in their communities. 

The council is expanding the remit of the Members Small Grant Scheme and other grants to enable all county councillors to support local Town and Parish Councils, as well as community groups, with specific grants for COVID related financial support.  

The grants will assist recipient organisations to help families who need support. There will be a range of options which may include food parcels and/or food purchases through the use of vouchers. 

The maximum amount of the grant will be £2,000.  

In addition, the council is in the process of examining other sources of funding, including the Hardship Fund, to help alleviate difficulties caused as result of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Household waste permit scheme reintroduced for residents

New vans permit scheme

The council’s popular household waste permit scheme is being reintroduced from Monday 26 October.  

When the Household Waste Recovery Centres (tips) re-opened in May, the scheme remained unavailable due to COVID-19 restrictions.   Now the permit scheme will be available for larger vans and trailers once again. Small vans previously exempt from carrying permits under COVID guidelines will also now require a permit to visit a site.  

Due to high demand and increased offloading time, residents that require permits for their vehicles will need to book a slot online to visit HWRCs. This will allow residents to plan their journey ahead of time.  Slots must be booked at least 48 hours in advance of a visit. Booking slots and more information can be found at www.northumberland.gov.uk/Tip 

The first available slots for permit holders will be Wednesday 28 October due to the new booking system.  

Residents will be able to apply for up to three permits at any one time. 

Councillor Glen Sanderson, leader of the council and cabinet member responsible for waste management and recycling said: “This is welcome news for our residents across Northumberland”.  “We know many people make use of our permit scheme and have eagerly awaited its reintroduction. Although there are some changes, we are confident that the scheme will provide permit holders the same quality of service as before”.  

“Staff have worked incredibly hard to ensure this service is up and running once again. Our waste teams are vital in providing these essential services and I’d like to remind residents to treat them with respect when visiting a site.” 

Residents will need to provide evidence of their booking when they arrive. Vehicles that require a permit will be turned away if they cannot provide evidence of their permit and booking information.  

Climate change plans progress for Northumberland

Northumberland County Council’s cabinet has celebrated progress on plans to tackle climate change, following the agreement of ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions across the county over the next ten years.

The council declared a climate emergency last year, setting clear goals to half the council’s emissions by 2025, and make Northumberland carbon neutral by 2030.

The council’s decision-making cabinet approved a report which sets out the seven priority action areas for the council to pursue its climate change ambition, which include energy, transport, carbon sequestration, land management, policy, communications and engagement.

The cabinet also agreed to match Government funding for studies into district heat networks in Blyth, Cramlington, Alnwick, Ashington, Berwick, Hexham and Morpeth, which could form a renewable heating supply for residents, businesses and other non-domestic properties. The overall cost of the studies will come to £210,000 and is mainly from a Government grant with a £69,300 approved revenue match funding contribution from the council. Rick O’Farrell, interim executive director of local services for the council, said: “Initial studies have already taken place to assess the feasibility of these heat networks in Blyth and Cramlington by using existing heat sources in the towns. Once in place the networks will help reduce heating bills and drastically reduce domestic carbon emissions.” 

LA7 Leaders continue to resist any move to Tier 3, urging residents to continue to do their bit

North East leaders and business representatives have joined forces to thank the North East in working together to tackle the region’s high COVID-19 infection rate. 

They said: “Thanks to the collective efforts of everyone across the North East, we are continuing to see our infection rates level off and plateau. 

“Residents and businesses across our region have gone to extraordinary lengths to apply COVID-19 restrictions into their daily lives and have persevered with immense integrity and spirit throughout the pandemic. We want to thank them for everything they have done and are continuing to do to keep us all safe. 

“In discussions with Government, they accepted that the measures we asked for in September have kept people safer, and helped us avoid the economically damaging restrictions put in place in other areas. We were quick to be proactive and we are seeing the impact of this approach.

“While the increase may have been curtailed, there is a long winter ahead. The rate of infection remains high and we must now ask everyone to redouble their efforts in order to look after themselves, their loved ones, protect more vulnerable residents and prevent hospital admissions escalating.

“We still believe that Tier 2, the ‘High’ COVID alert level, is the right level for our communities and continue to demonstrate to Government that this remains the case. We are also continuing to lobby for additional support for all those businesses doing their upmost to operate in a COVID-secure manner in these difficult times without the need to move to Tier 3. Recent announcements from the Chancellor have been welcome, but more must be done. We will carry on making the case for a more localised approach to test and trace, allowing us to capitalise on local expertise and knowledge of our communities, and work closely with the police to call for greater resource and support to enforce the guidance. 

“We do not want to see harsher restrictions imposed on our residents by Tier 3 and will resist any attempt by Government to do so. This would have an even greater impact on our economy and our wellbeing. But if we are to avoid this, we all need to continue working together. 

“The biggest source of transmission for the virus is in households. Mixing indoors with those outside your support bubble remains illegal and while we appreciate it is tough not being able to see loved ones, friends and neighbours, we must all do our bit to support our region through this pandemic. Our police forces are working flat out to engage with communities across our region and to advise and support people on following the restrictions. 

“Thank you to everybody for your efforts so far, and please continue to comply with the regulations and follow the ‘Hands, Face, Space’ public health guidance at all times.” 

Cllr Nick Forbes CBE, Leader of Newcastle City Council, Cllr Martin Gannon, Leader of Gateshead Council’ Cllr Glen Sanderson, Leader of Northumberland County Council’

Norma Redfearn CBE, Elected Mayor of North Tyneside Council, Cllr Iain Malcolm, Leader of South Tyneside Council, Cllr Graeme Miller, Leader of Sunderland City Council, Cllr Simon Henig, CBE, Leader of Durham County Council, Jamie Driscoll, North of Tyne Mayor, Kim McGuinness, Northumbria Police and Crime Commissioner, James Ramsbotham CBE, CEO of North East England Chamber of Commerce, Lucy Winskell, Chair, North East Local Enterprise Partnership

Families urged to enjoy a safe but spooky Halloween

Enjoy Halloween safely in 2020

Families in Northumberland are being encouraged to have a spooky but safe Halloween this year.  With COVID-19 restrictions in place across the region, anything that increases contact between families increases the risk of catching coronavirus for everyone.  

This year people are being asked to get creative and if they want to celebrate to do it in a COVID‑safe way. 

Liz Morgan, the county’s Director of Public Health, said: “We know how much some people love Halloween and getting involved with their children trick-or-treating, but we’d really prefer you to skip it this year. 

“The need to avoid gathering around front doors, the use of sanitiser for hands and door knockers or bells, the use of face coverings and the need to ensure that the sharing of sweets doesn’t present a risk are all things you’ll need to consider if you do decide to go ahead. 

“It’s also vital people don’t hold parties in their homes with those who aren’t in their household or support bubble. 

 “Halloween is traditionally about thinking creatively and using your imagination and this year more than ever we need people to do this.” Instead the council is suggesting a safe range of indoor and outdoor activities people could do on the night. 

 These include: 

  • Carving pumpkins 
  • Making your own Halloween costumes 
  • Watching a scary movie 
  • Organising a Halloween themed treasure hunt with your household 
  • Giving your windows or doorstep a spooky makeover for passers-by to enjoy 
  • Walking from house to house enjoying local decorations 

Liz added: “It’s important to remember if you do go outside the rule of six applies and people should socially distance. Wear a face covering and take some hand sanitiser with you.  

“Wash your hands with soap and water when you get in, and most importantly if you or someone in your family is self-isolating please stay at home this year.” 

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