29 May 2020

NHS Test and Trace service launched
The NHS Test and Trace service has been launched this week.
The government is introducing the service to help return life more to normal, in a way that is safe and protects our NHS and social care.  Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus (COVID-19) will be contacted by NHS Test and Trace to find out about who they’ve been in close contact with recently.  Then, if necessary, those they’ve interacted with will be notified and told they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.
There’s more information about how the systems works on the government’s website, along with guidance for people who have been notified by NHS Test and Trace that they’ve been in contact with someone who has had a positive test result for coronavirus (COVID-19).

Government sets out next steps to ease lockdown measures from 1 June
Yesterday evening the PM gave an update on the UK’s progress against each of the five tests we had to meet before adjusting the lockdown.
Full details of this statement can be found here (click here).
Since all five tests are being met, the following adjustments will be made to lockdown:

From Monday 1st June
1) Nurseries and other early years settings and reception, year one and year six in primary schools will reopen in a safe way;
2) Outdoor retail and car showrooms, where social distancing is generally easier, will reopen; and
3) Up to six people will be able to meet outside (in parks, gardens and other private outdoor space) – provided those from different households continue strictly to observe social distancing rules by staying two metres apart.
Further social distancing guidance will follow in the coming days – please visit the Coronavirus FAQs page for updates (click here).

From Monday 15th June
1) Secondary schools will begin to provide some face-to-face contact time for years 10 and 12.
2) The government intends to reopen other non-essential retail – but only provided the five tests are still being met and shops have been made Covid secure.
Please note that those who have been asked to shield themselves should continue to do so.

Message from RNLI and HM Coastguard
Our lifeguards can’t be everywhere this summer. If you’re heading to the coast, check the weather and tides, keep an eye on your family and don’t use inflatables. In an emergency, call 999 for the Coastguard.
Find more safety advice (click here).

The virus is still out there – please continue to keep your distance.

Please share your views on what should change post COVID
What do you think our ‘new normal’ should look like? Take part in this survey to let us and our partners know how you see your lifestyle changing in post-Covid North Devon (click here to take part of the survey).

Be aware of unlicensed waste removal carriers
Did you know… if your man with a van doesn’t have a proper waste disposal permit and your waste is flytipped, YOU could be prosecuted?
Everyone who produces waste has a legal duty of care to ensure it is disposed of properly.  When using private waste collectors, the advice is to always follow the S.C.R.A.P code:

Suspect – beware of rogue waste collectors
Check – ask for their waste carrier registration
Refuse – do not be tempted by unsolicited offers to take your rubbish away
Ask Questions – ask where your rubbish is going
Paperwork – make sure you get a proper receipt listing the rubbish removed and including the carriers’ details.

All private waste collectors must hold a Waste Carrier Licence. Always ask to see their licence and check it is valid on the Environment Agency website or by calling 03708 506 506.
Report flytipping to us (click here).

How to wear and make a face covering
Do you know how to wear and make a cloth face covering?  (Find out more).

27 May 2020

Think Twice
Please play fair.  Social distancing helps protect our community.  Is it safe? Is it fair?  Think twice.

Keep hold of your unwanted clothes for a bit longer
Clothing banks are currently not collecting due to the pandemic.  Leaving your waste next to them is flytipping (click here).  We understand that you may be having a clear out while you have a bit more time on your hands but please hang on to any textiles you have until our recyclers and the clothing banks are able to continue with normal collections.

Bag up your black bin waste
Please remember to bag your waste up before it goes in your black bin.  This is especially important at the moment when our waste & recycling crews are trying to stay safe and healthy.  Thank you to everyone who is continuing to support our crews during these difficult times.

Free webinars to help you get back to work safely
The UK Government, in consultation with industry, has produced guidance, for businesses in England, to help ensure workplaces are as safe as possible.
The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy are hosting a series of free one hour webinars between 27 May and 2 June to help businesses make their workplace COVID-secure  ahead of June 15.
To see if there is a webinar for your industry and register for the event (click here) and register online.

Stay safe online
Online during lockdown?  We are all spending more time online.  Offenders are using online channels – social media, chat apps or chat functions of online games – to target people.  This could be for sex, drug dealing or to radicalise someone to an extremist cause.  Help us keep each other safe.

Coronavirus sick pay rebate scheme now live
Business owners – HMRC has launched the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme for employers who have paid SSP due to coronavirus incapacity. More information is available on the Government’s website (click here).

Food businesses must register – but it’s free
Have you set up a food business?  Just a reminder that all food services operating in our district – including temporary and not-for-profit businesses – are required by law to register with us.  Registration is simple, free and can’t be refused.  Once registered we will provide advice on how to comply with food safety law, assess business premises for hygiene and award a rating under the national Food Hygiene Rating Scheme.  Once a rating has been given, it can be used to promote the business.

If you’re operating a food business, please register it on our website (click here).

Keep going, you’re doing so well
Social distancing takes sacrifice but it is working. We know it’s tough not being able to see your friends or family and not being able to visit beauty spots to enjoy this beautiful sunny weather we have been having recently.  However, we must all respect the rules of lockdown to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe.
We’ve come this far, please keep it up and do your bit for Britain.

NHS tribute on Capstone Hill
You may have already seen on social media that our fantastic contractors at Tivoli have begun this tribute to the NHS on Capstone Hill in Ilfracombe for us.
It’s not quite finished yet, they are going back tomorrow to outline the edges and make it look even better.  Great work team, and thanks for sharing our love for the wonderful work our NHS are doing.

VE Day 75
On Friday 8 May 2020 Britain will be commemorating the 75th anniversary of VE Day when the guns fell silent at the end of war in Europe.
Due to the coronavirus restrictions most VE Day 75 events and street parties have had to be cancelled or postponed but we still want you to be able to mark the occasion, share your pride in our country and honour the men and women of WW2.
Those wishing to take part are being encouraged to undertake the ‘Nation’s Toast to the Heroes of WW2’ at 3pm on the 8th May, from the safety of their own home by standing up and raise a glass of refreshment of their choice and undertake the following ‘Toast’:
“To those who gave so much, we thank you.”
Using this unique opportunity to pay tribute to the many millions at home and abroad that gave so much to ensure we all enjoy and share the freedom we have today.
You can also take part in celebrations safely from home by joining your BBC Local Radio station initiative in making your own VE Day Great British Bunting. Download everything you need at bbc.co.uk/makeadifference.
There are still lots of ways you get involved and show your support in marking the day on social media and via your digital channels.
The government have a website full of ideas of ways to celebrate in your home and on social media, including resources to download such as posters and bunting.
(Click Here)

Please don’t be a nuisance neighbour
Please be considerate of your neighbours while everyone is at home – that includes not having bonfires and just being considerate with any activities you are carrying out at home (DIY, playing music etc.) especially during unsociable hours.
Bearing in mind the current COVID 19 situation and the impact it is having on council resources, we are only able to investigate urgent “Environmental Protection” related requests for service. Please bear this in mind before submitting your request for service, and be aware that your request may be placed on a backlog list – until such time that we are able to progress further. Thank you for your patience at this difficult time.

Things you can do to help our waste and recycling teams keep on working safely
Thanks for your support in keeping our waste and recycling crews working and safe during the COVID-19 outbreak.  Here’s how you can continue to support them:

  1. Please wash your hands before and after touching your bins, bags and boxes to help you and our crews safe from germs.
  2. Please don’t put textiles out for collection because the Salvation Army are no longer able to accept clothing donations, but please hold on to any unwanted clothes as they will be needed after restrictions are lifted.
  3. Please don’t put unwanted kitchen knives out for recycling, they can’t be recycled and could hurt someone
  4. Please don’t put too much waste out for collection at once, our vehicles have a limited capacity so if you’re having a clear out try putting a bit extra out each collection or just hang on to it until the recycling centres reopen.
  5. If you are unwell and have lots of used tissues to dispose of please double bag the tissues and keep it separate from the rest of your waste, in a different room would be best. After 72 hours it is safe to put the tissues out in your black bin or refuse sack.
  6. Please separate your glass recycling from your plastics and tins. You can use another recycling box or any kind of container like a plastic box or bucket. This helps speed things up for our crews who are understaffed.
  7. Please wash and squash your recycling and pop the lids back on. It’s more hygienic for the crews and saves space in the vehicles so they can collect a bit more from everyone.

Making sure your children stay safe online
Whilst there are many benefits to being online to help you stay connected to family and friends during this period, many parents may feel concerned about the activities and content their children are accessing.
We are supporting Devon & Cornwall Police’s new campaign to raise awareness of online grooming and child exploitation. They have collected information to support parents and carers to spot the signs of online exploitation.
It is important to have regular conversations about staying safe online and to encourage your children to speak to you if they come across something worrying online.
It is important for children and young people to stay both connected and safe online. Remember to make use of parental controls and to talk with your children.
If you have downloaded new apps or bought new devices like web cams or tablets, remember to adjust the privacy and security settings to suit you.
Most children have a positive experience online, accessing educational resources and entertainment and connecting with friends and family.
Spending time online can be very beneficial for children, particularly at the moment, but we recognise that many parents may worry about online safety.
You may also be concerned about how long your children are using their devices. The government has published guidance for parents and carers on supporting children and young people’s mental health and wellbeing during COVID-19.


A new NHS Nightingale Hospital will be opened in Westpoint Exeter to provide 200 extra beds for patients with coronavirus symptoms if needed.
The NHS Nightingale Hospital Exeter, announced today by NHS Chief Executive, Sir Simon Stevens, brings the total to seven confirmed NHS Nightingale Hospitals in a matter of weeks.
The five hospitals in Devon and Cornwall will provide the majority of care for critically ill patients with coronavirus, and have plans in place to increase their critical care capacity up to 500 beds across both counties.
Our new NHS Nightingale Hospital, which is expected to be ready for the first patients, if needed, by early May, will provide a regional resource of 200 beds for Devon, Cornwall and neighbouring counties to meet the care needs for patients who are seriously unwell due to their coronavirus symptoms.
Elizabeth O’Mahony, Regional Director, NHS England and NHS Improvement – South West, said coronavirus was “the single biggest challenge facing our country for generations.”
She added: “We can learn from the work we are doing in Bristol and the other Nightingale Hospitals across the country. We want the NHS in the South West to be as well prepared as possible.”
“The Nightingale Exeter will support our existing hospital network to care for critically ill patients from the south of the region.  We are taking steps now to ensure that the hospital is available if required but we hope that it is not needed.  We ask everyone in the South West to continue to follow the national recommendations to reduce transmission of the virus, please stay at home, observe social distancing, protect your local NHS and each of you will help save lives.”
The set up of this new facility will be overseen by Phillipa Slinger, an experienced NHS Chief Executive, and currently lead Chief Executive for the Devon Sustainability and Transformation Partnership.  She said: “I would like to thank local people for their extraordinary support to the NHS by staying at home. Where people have needed to go out for essential reasons, they have by and large practised good social distancing.  These actions need to continue as they are helping us to manage the pandemic.”
“However, our new NHS Nightingale Hospital will ensure we have the right critical care capacity in place to help us manage the expected upsurge in cases. Getting our new facility open is a huge task and will be a real collaborative partnership between all NHS providers, commissioners, partner agencies, the armed forces and contractors.”
The new Nightingale Hospital will be hosted by the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.  It will be run as a system level model to ensure resilience across the Devon, Cornwall and wider South West region, with a sub-structure of geographically aligned clinical networks.
The seven confirmed NHS Nightingale Hospitals will be integrated with and support existing NHS Hospitals in areas across the length and breadth of England.
The Nightingales are part of a nationwide effort to respond to the greatest global health emergency in more than a century.  The seven facilities will take the initial number of additional beds to be created by the Nightingale project nationally to more than 3,600, with the ability to add more if local health bosses think they are needed.
All Nightingales will draw on existing NHS staff, as well as the thousands of returning staff and training clinicians who have already begun to swell their ranks.

Please do not visit us at Lynton House unless you have an emergency.
It is very likely that our Customer Services team will be diminished due to illness and/or school closures so please try to do as much online as possible and try to avoid telephoning us unless it is urgent.
There is lots of information on our website and you can use our self-service forms to request items, report issues and contact some services directly. (Click Here)

Watch out for scam messages:
Don’t click on the links or attachments in suspicious emails, and never respond to unsolicited messages and calls that ask for your personal or financial details.
Be mindful of strangers offering to do shopping for you:
Don’t give out your bank cards or bank details to anyone you don’t know well who offers to get shopping for you. Instead pay them back with a cheque or via telephone or online banking.
Telephone scams:
We are aware that some people have received calls from someone pretending to be from British Telecom (BT), suggesting that they are terminating the phone line and internet. Do not give them any personal information or bank details.
Shopping online:
If you’re making a purchase from a company or person you don’t know and trust, carry out some research first, and ask a friend or family member for advice before completing the purchase. If you decide to go ahead with the purchase, use a credit card if you have one, as most major credit card providers insure online purchases.
For more information on how to shop online safely. (Click Action Fraud Website)

If you are unwell, please follow the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (DEFRA) guidelines to protect yourself and others – including our waste collection crews:
Double bag any used tissues
Keep the bag separate from ‘normal’ waste
If you are self-isolating, place the bag in another room
After 72 hours place the double bagged waste outside in your black bin/bag
If tissues are not bagged our crews will have to leave your bin without emptying it, to protect themselves from the threat of Coronavirus.

Due to the reduction of bus services across the county, Devon County Council are trialling an on-demand subsidised taxi service for Devon residents for key workers accessing employment only.
This service is intended to replace those journeys which were previously made by bus – a subsidised flat fare will be charged.
Requests can only be made by email and should be sent to devonbus@devon.gov.uk.
Please include the following information in your email:
We will aim to respond to all requests as soon as possible during normal office hours – journeys should be booked 48 hours in advance of travel.

Spread the word, not the virus
One of the things you can do to help keep our refuse collectors safe from COVID-19 is to was your hands both before and after you put your bins out. Studies have shown that the virus can live on plastic surfaces for 2-3 days and we don’t want our crews to be placed at any more risk than absolutely necessary.
Separate glass for recycling
If possible, please separate your glass from the rest of your recycling – this really speeds up the collections and means that short staffed crews will be able to visit more houses on their rounds so it will hopefully minimise missed collections. As a temporary measure , you can use any other open topped box, or an untied carrier bag.
Thanks to everyone who has used old boxes or bags to put their glass recycling out for collection separate from the plastic and tins. It really does help speed up the process for the crews and means they can get around to more houses in a shorter time.
All crews are still going out on their rounds, if you see them and want to ask a question, please remember to maintain a 2 meter distance. If your waste or recycling collection gets missed we won’t be able to return as we are short staffed. Please take it back in and present it again on your next collection
Waste and recycling collections
Waste and recycling services are running with a reduced number of staff, so please be patient if your bins and/or recycling is not collected on the usual day and keep an eye on our website for further updates or to log a missed collection. (Click Here)
Avoid throwing away unused food
Across Devon Recycle Devon are seeing an increasing amount of food waste compared to the same time frame last month. They are putting this down to members of the public bulk buying food and not using it effectively before it goes off.
As per government guidance, only buy what you need (one household member going to the shops once a week if possible) and please be considerate of others in your community.
For information on how to store food and use it effectively in a range of delicious and nutritious meals that avoid food waste, please download this FREE recipe book from Recycle Devon. (Recipes)
Devon’s Recycling Centres closed
All 19 of Devon County Council’s recycling centres have been closed until further notice effective immediately.
For advice on what to do with waste during this time and latest updates regarding their recycling services please visit: http://soc.devon.cc/w7uSm.
Bulky waste collections cancelled
All bulky waste collections are temporarily suspended until further notice. If you have a bulky item booked to be collected in the coming weeks, please contact our Customer Services team on 01271 374776 for a refund.

North Devon Crematorium
The North Devon Crematorium is introducing further measures to minimise the risk of infection from the COVID-19 virus and to ensure maximum service availability. They are now only allowing spouse or partner, parents/carers, siblings, children and their partners to attend services.
Cemetery updated
The main vehicle access gates to both Marlborough Road and Bear Street cemeteries are closed until further notice. However, pedestrian access will remain open at both cemeteries. The gates will only open for burial services. We realise that this may be inconvenient for some people but it has been done to discourage those with underlying health issues and the over 70’s from leaving their home and exposing themselves to the virus.
All grounds maintenance in both cemeteries has also ceased for the time being as grass cutting and emptying of bins is classed as non-essential work.

Help relieve pressure on local pharmacies
We have been asked to put some messages out on behalf of local pharmacies who are struggling to keep up with demand on their services. You can help relieve the pressure on them by only going to pharmacies for absolutely essential prescriptions.

In the interests of public safety we are temporarily suspending all parking charges in NDC owned car parks across the district as of today. Devon County Council who manage the on-street parking are also temporarily relaxing the on-street parking enforcement to help people who are parked in residents parking areas while self-isolating or working from home.
Please note that there are still many car parks which are privately owned or run by a town or parish council which will have their own rules in place. For a list of all NDC owned car parks which are free to use at this time please visit our website. (Click Here)

In the interests of public safety we are closing all of our public toilets in the North Devon District until further notice. To check which public toilets NDC operates within the district, please visit our website. (Click Here)

Anyone who is eligible for Council Tax support and is of working age will soon get a further reduction of £150 on their bills. This will be automatically applied so there’s no need to contact us. There is more information on this and other ways we can help you financially on our website. (Click Here)

If your income has been significantly affected by current circumstances help is available via our Council Tax Reduction and Exceptional Hardship Schemes.
Click for information about the Council Tax Reduction Scheme
Click to apply for the Exceptional Hardship Fund

The Government has today announced emergency measures to ensure vulnerable customers who may fall into debt remain supplied with energy while in self isolation. Any energy customer in financial distress will be supported by their energy supplier. (Click Here)

Grants have been made available by Fullabrook Community Interest Company to voluntary and community groups in the following areas:
Ashford, Berrynarbor, Bittadon, Braunton, East Down, Georgeham, Heanton Punchardon, Ilfracombe, Marwood, Mortehoe, Shirwell, West Down, and West Pilton. More information and application forms are available on our website. (Click Here)

To support the many small businesses which pay little or no business rates because of Small Business Rate Relief (SBRR) the Government has promised to provide £10,000 cash grant to business across the country which are currently eligible for either SBRR or Rural Rate Relief, to help meet their ongoing business costs.
A £25,000 grant will also be provided to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses operating from smaller premises, with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000.
We are expecting this information to be released next week – so there’s no need to contact us in the meantime. As soon as we have the information, we will publicise it on our website, social media and in these bulletins.

We understand that our residents and visitors may have concerns about Coronavirus (COVID-19). We have set up a webpage which is being updated with the latest information and guidance as it becomes available. We want to make sure that the people of North Devon are kept well informed about Coronavirus.
We are working with town and parish councils, voluntary and community groups, and local businesses to help us build this response.
If you’d like to let us know about some community or voluntary activity that is not already listed please contact us at communities@northdevon.gov.uk.

Our Planning Service is doing our very best to continue with ‘business as usual’ at this time. However, they also have to consider guidance from the government, so have decided that we will not be holding any non-essential meetings or site visits for the time being.
Find out more about how the Planning Service will continue to function during the Coronavirus outbreak: (Click Here)

In order to provide reliable and consistent information to the construction industry, the CIOB is collaborating with BuildUK to provide a central resource for the industry in response to the Coronavirus. (Click Here)

The Government has relaxed the planning rules so pubs and restaurants can operate as hot food takeaways during the coronavirus outbreak. More information can be found on the Government’s website. (Click Here)

Avoid misinformation on Coronavirus – only follow advice from official, trusted sources.
Devon County Council
NHS England
Public Health England