Update on the Coronavirus – Covid-19

A message from Jeff Harris, Surrey County Councillor

Dear Resident,

As I write this we are coming to the end on another week of ‘Lockdown’ and the overwhelming majority of residents are abiding by the guidance from the NHS and Government. A few aren’t, deciding that they don’t need to ‘keep their distance’, nor just do essential shopping, forget to regularly wash their hands, or work from home if possible, and above all Protect the NHS. Sadly, this may come at a heavy price for all of us, not just them.

Last time I raised the issue of bonfires and green waste collections. There are still people having bonfires and acting in an anti-social way, upsetting their neighbours and potentially harming the health of local people. So please be patient, the CRC’s (Community Re-cycling Centres) will re-open in due course, once the Govt advice and processes for managing them are in place. In the meantime, please store your waste and be patient…Its frustrating for all of us, so you’re not alone!

We’ve discussed Waste Collections with the Leader of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council and again these will resume in due course; we don’t have a date, and there are several good reasons, however frustrating these my be, for the delay.

Apart from staff being re-deployed elsewhere to assist other urgent needs, RBBC have had to deal with large increases (up to two weeks ago) in other waste:

  • 14% more food waste collected,
  • 34% more household re-cycling
  • 15% more paper and cardboard, and
  • 17% more general non-re-cyclable rubbish

(In all that’s about 25% more work for our Staff!)

Additionally, managers still have the welfare of staff to take into account, in terms of absence through illness, caring for someone who is ill, distancing, etc. Our Waste Operatives are working really hard on our behalf. So lets all do what we can to help.

Surrey County Council are also assisting in maintaining the areas around the ‘Bring’ Re-cycling areas, but people are dumping non-re-cycling there as well such as fridges, etc….Again, please be patient and do not be tempted to have a ‘cash in hand’ ‘Waste Removal’ Company take anything away, or allow anyone who claims to be licensed-and can’t prove it. It could prove very very costly if they fly-tip your rubbish……..

If your household/neighbour/relative has ‘Clinical Waste’ and it is collected by a Specialist Company, (normally PHS) this will continue, if there’s a problem ring them. Companies and Businesses have their own Waste Procedures sperate to the Council.

However, if anyone is suffering from Corona Virus at home, any personal potentially contaminated waste (tissues, etc) should be double-bagged, left for three days before putting it out into the GENERAL NON-RE-CYLNG Waste. If in doubt call either RBBC 01737276000 or Surrey County Councils 0300 200 1008 Helplines for advice.

I thought I would share a few more ‘Statistics’ from across the County (up to this week):

  • 15,000 phone calls made to our vulnerable residents
  • 1500 direct visits by PCSO’s, etc, to those who didn’t answer the phone or had no phone connection.
  • 4000 calls to SCC Helpline
  • 63000 ‘visits’ to the SCC Helpline Website
  • 7000 volunteers from our communities across the County
  • 37000 items of PPE donated and many more promised
  • 359 Schools still open for essential Workers children or Special Needs children
  • 125 rooms made available across the County for the homeless
  • 458 staff and volunteers currently supporting the Local Resilience Forum-which is pulling all this together across the County, and finally,
  • Headley Court Hospital is due to take its first patients next week. In less than a month empty, bare shells and disused amenities have been brought into perfect condition by partnership of SCC, NHS, Local Hospital Trusts, Military, Borough/Districts and a host of volunteers.

Big Numbers? I could go on, but hopefully you’ll appreciate just how big the challenge is, just in Surrey, and how many people are involved, many in addition to their normal roles or seconded to help……We should rightly be proud of their efforts, and may be a bit more patient when it comes to some delays in ‘normal’ service.

I think it was Sir Winston Churchill who coined the phrase ‘ When you’re going through hell……keep going’. For some currently it is hellish, but Surrey, and particularly our area, has a history of altruism and generosity, so between us we can and will succeed.

Sadly, I became aware of a fatal fire last week locally. We can’t be sure of the cause and there will have to be an Inquest eventually as investigations as to the cause continue. Can I please ask residents, especially whilst families and everyone is at home more of the time, to CHECK YOUR SMOKE ALARMS and Carbon Monoxide Alarms, and if you’ve checked yours, how about Knocking Next Door, especially if your neighbours (both sides!) are vulnerable…and whilst you’re at it, ask them if they’re ok. We can make thousands of calls from ‘The Council’, but the friendly (distanced!) neighbourly chat is worth far more to isolated, lonely and possibly fearful people.

Finally, I would like to thank all our local volunteers, who are facing the challenge in their hundreds, and making a huge difference to so many in our community………

So stay safe, wash those hands, keep your distance, and remember all the guidance…..Because if we Protect the NHS, we protect ourselves.

Kindest regards,

Jeff Harris
County Councillor


A footnote regarding Dog Fouling in Kingswood

There are an increasing number of complaints about residents letting their dogs foul the public footpaths.

Dog mess is an eyesore and a health hazard. If you are a dog owner, you have a legal duty to clean up every time your dog messes in a public place. Registered blind people are not required to clean up after their guide dogs.

For more information you can contact:

Debi Kemp
Dog Warden
Joint Enforcement Team
Direct Dial: 01737 276819

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