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President update: 17th June

17 June 2020

This week marks the beginning of a significant time for our high streets with many shops allowed to reopen, but with strict social distancing in place. We will be watching closely how the public reacts over the coming weeks to get an idea of how safe our communities feel about returning to the shops. It’s a major concern for all place directors who need to ensure their communities feel confident and that their local economies can restart. For retail businesses, it is also a critical point as they work out how they can continue to operate with a reduced footfall. 

Any changes to the 2m distancing rule, will also have ramifications for place. Not only in how our communities and businesses respond, but also in how we work safely. We published the second iteration of the highways maintenance Safe Operating Procedures recently and we are preparing for a third update should social distancing guidance change. 

The ADEPT Economic Recovery and Renewal Task Force has written to MHCLG and BEIS highlighting the work of the group, the EY evidence report and our proposal for a new programme of Live Labs. The role of local authorities in the work of economic renewal and to address climate change are central to recovery from Covid-19. New growth must be clean, inclusive and sustainable, which is part of ADEPT’s clear message to Government. Live Labs demonstrate the innovation, collaboration and best practice that is at the heart of ADEPT’s work and the role of place directors up and down the country. If you haven’t seen the submission to central government, get in touch with Hannah ([email protected]). 

After a short break, the results of the ninth waste impacts survey for w/c 1st June were published last week. There is now relatively little disruption to the core recycling and household waste collections. Only 2% of responding councils have not reinstated garden waste collections and 97% are operating bulky waste services, albeit with some disruption. The causes for the continued disruptions are due to implementing social distancing rather than staff absences, so if the 2m rule is relaxed, we could expect to see a lessening of these impacts too.

The results of our first survey specifically for Household Waste and Recycling Centres will be published this week. Thanks to everyone who has responded to both of these surveys. 

Our Environment Board will shortly have a new Chair. Steve Read from West Sussex has agreed to take over from Paula Hewitt who has moved into the 1st Vice President role. There is one further change to report as Immediate Past President, Darryl Eyers becomes the Interim Chair of the Sustainable Growth Board. I want to thank Darryl for stepping into this role, and Peter Geraghty for all his work over the past 4 years. Finally, Mike Ashworth, former Chair of ADEPT’s Transport Board, is retiring from Derbyshire County Council. He has said he will be happy to work with ADEPT in the future, so it might not be a clean getaway!

 All our publications and news related to our work on coronavirus impacts are on ADEPT’s COVID-19 updates page, so keep checking regularly for latest news.