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President update: 14th October

14 October 2020

After much trailing in the media, the Prime Minister finally announced the 3 tier system for local lockdowns on Monday. I think it’s fair to say that these haven’t been received with wholehearted endorsement. Local authorities are facing inconsistencies in how these tiers are being applied across the country. There is some debate whether localised lockdowns are even working and re-emergence of conversations about the North-South divide in terms of economic impacts.

Colleagues in the north of England are under huge pressure and a lack of input and consultation which has characterised decision making over the last few months. I know from talking to colleagues across the country that many local authorities are standing down recovery and moving back into response. Where that leaves our communities, businesses, high streets and town centres over the coming winter months will be causing many of us sleepless nights. 

On the subject of winter, local highways teams are turning their attention to preparing for bad weather and how to maintain services with social distancing in place, the potential for higher levels of staff sickness and self-isolation, and physical changes to the network to enable active travel. Some local authorities are looking at creating bubbles and training staff from other service areas. We would welcome hearing from you on your approaches.

It was a real pleasure to join ADEPT members in Northern Ireland for their AGM on 2nd October and to welcome Damien McQuillan as the new Chair.  It was good to compare notes with colleagues in the province who continue to drive forward exciting place shaping and infrastructure projects. Damien takes over from Simon Richardson and on behalf of the membership I’d like to thank him for all of his input to ADEPT as NI Chair over the last few years.

The first Live Labs White Paper – Mobilising an Innovation Programme (During the Covid-19 Pandemic) was launched last week. It’s the first in a series of six white papers and discusses some of the learnings and challenges faces by the teams in setting up their programmes. The Live Labs are firmly in the trials phase now with work on communications ramping up for each project. We held a Comms Workshop for all teams last week to pull together more opportunities for collaboration. It was good to see how the Labs are coming together - using thermal energy to de-ice car parks and kinetic energy to create public charging points, data analytics to understand travel behaviour are just some of the current trials. Keep up with Live Labs by following the monthly blog.

We hosted a successful virtual National Traffic Managers Conference last week, with sessions on safe systems, ash dieback, decarbonising transport from government and industry perspectives and delivering EV charging infrastructure. Presentations from the day can be found on the ADEPT website here

A reminder that the ADEPT Autumn Conference (November 5-6) is going completely virtual. You can see the latest programme here and register to attend here. Alison from Aldercross has been getting in touch with those of you that have already registered to attend in person, so if you haven’t heard from her yet, you will!

And please sign up and show your support for our five immediate priorities for a green recovery. This comes from our partnership work on the Blueprint for accelerating climate action and a green recovery at the local level and is vital in our work to put support for local authorities front and centre of tackling climate change.

As always, keep watching our COVID-19 updates page for the latest ADEPT news. Stay safe everyone.