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Added September 13th 2021
Editor in a tent in Yorkshire - news by email only on the 15th
Added September 8th 2021
Bucks County Council
Extended changes to household waste collections – Chiltern and Wycombe areas only
Buckinghamshire Council is asking residents in Chiltern and Wycombe to carry on disposing of food waste in their general rubbish until further notice.
Residents in these areas have already been asked to throw away food waste with their general household waste for the last four weeks. The Council is having to extend this arrangement because of the on-going national HGV driver shortage.
It means people living in Chiltern and Wycombe should carry on doing what they’ve been doing in recent weeks with food waste – throwing it away with their general rubbish (in the black bin). Brown food caddies will still be emptied if they’re put out on general rubbish week only, but this waste will not be recycled during this time. Collections in the rest of Buckinghamshire are unaffected and these changes impact residents in Chiltern and Wycombe only.
Despite best efforts to recruit new drivers and upskill existing staff, there are still not enough drivers to reinstate separate food collections on 13 Sept as previously planned. Our contractor Veolia is taking proactive measures to address the staff shortage, including incentivised recruitment packages and retention bonuses for staff.
Back to school – school bus services
The start of the 2021/22 school year sees the introduction of a major update to school bus transport in Buckinghamshire.
Buckinghamshire Council provides school bus services for those children eligible for free home to school transport and sells any remaining spare seats. This year, the Council’s bus routes have been revised and new contracts put in place. 74 Council-provided school bus routes are in place. These are new routes, and parents are advised to check the Council’s website for full details of all bus timetables.
As part of these changes, 14 new commercially run school only bus routes have been launched. These are run independently of the Council to cater for parents/carers who want to buy a seat for their child on a school bus.
Parents are advised to check the Council’s website for the latest Council bus timetable information or commercial bus websites for independently-run buses.
Council routes and timetables are available online here
Details of the commercial school bus routes can be found here
Details of public buses in Buckinghamshire are available here
TfB staff go the extra mile to keep gully cleansing programme on track
Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) staff from across the county have been going above and beyond to help with the programme to clean all gullies within Buckinghamshire including working weekends and taking on new roles.
Back in May, work began on the ambitious programme to cleanse each of the 85,000+ gullies over the course of the year. Crews have been working flat out to keep to schedule but have been hampered by a combination of unavoidable set-backs. These include the knock-on impact of the national shortage of HGV drivers which has affected supply chain partners who have been drafted in to support the programme. Levels of staff sickness brought on by the Covid virus and the impact of Covid isolation on crews has also affected the work.
In a bid to address the issue, TfB operational staff have been going the extra mile to ensure the work continues, despite the setbacks. Regular staff from gully cleansing crews have volunteered to go out at weekends and in evenings in addition to their normal day shifts and others who carry out different roles have been trained to use the gully cleansing vehicles to help out. In addition, TfB have managed to secure additional gully machines and crews by taking on supply chain partners.
Earlier this year Buckinghamshire Council committed an extra £4m of funding into its gully clearance programme, boosting the total drainage programme budget for the year to £6.6m. As part of the work every gully in the county will be cleared at least once over the course of the year. Crews follow a dynamic schedule of work but also take advantage of opportunities to clear gullies as and when they arise.
Investing in your roads – Buckinghamshire Council invests £100 million into four-year highways improvement programme
Buckinghamshire Council has announced an investment of £100 million as part of a major highways improvement programme spanning the next four years.
The Council is responsible for the maintenance of 3,200 km of carriageway and 2,400 km of footways, all of which are frequently a hot topic for residents. As a county, our roads suffer more than most. With direct links from Buckinghamshire to London, Oxford and Milton Keynes, our roads are extraordinarily busy.
As part of this significant investment, Buckinghamshire Council will be repairing the most damaged roads and pavements. Residents and members of the travelling public will be kept well informed about the roadworks in their area with brand new signage indicating when we are carrying out improvement works as part of the ‘Investing in your roads’ programme, and letting people know when we’ve completed the job.
£4 million of this investment will be spent on clearing the 85,000 gullies we have across the county and repairing them when necessary to reduce the potential for road flooding. Not only does this make our roads safer but it also reduces the chance for potholes to form as a result of surface water.
An additional £3 million will also be spent on making vast improvements to a number of road surfaces across the county.
To report defects to us, visit this website.
Buckinghamshire Council looking for nominations for its Local Heritage List
Buckinghamshire is a county that is rich with history and has many heritage assets that benefit from statutory protection and designation, often referred to as ‘listed’ or ‘scheduled’ assets. The threshold for meeting the criteria that allows an asset to become listed is very high, and as a result it means that several locally important assets, which contribute positively to the local character and identity of Buckinghamshire, sometimes have little or no protection. Over time, some of these special places can be lost.
The Government has recognized this problem and have made funds available to 22 Local Authorities, including Buckinghamshire, to help improve the standard of locally held lists.
The Local Heritage List seeks to identify locally significant assets and celebrate their contribution to local identity and character. Developing this list provides a unique opportunity for residents of Buckinghamshire to nominate important assets around the County that are not currently listed, but that have significant heritage interest.
All kinds of assets can be considered for local listing, including:
Buildings demonstrating local style
Archaeological sites, such as upstanding earthworks or buried remains
Historic gardens and parks, and individual elements within them
Public works of art, monuments and street furniture, including signage
From 3rd September, residents will be able to make nominations for the Local Heritage List, or volunteer to assist the project team via Buckinghamshire Councils new online tool here: Home - Buckinghamshire's Local Heritage List (local-heritage-list.org.uk). Criteria for assets to be included on the list can also be found on the online portal.
Buckinghamshire Libraries make things easier for customers
With the free Spydus Mobile app, available for Apple and Android devices, you can manage your library account whenever it suits you – renew loans or reserve your next read in a couple of clicks. You can even use your smartphone’s camera to issue your own books when you visit the library.
Just download the app, select Buckinghamshire Libraries from the drop-down list, enter your library membership number and PIN and pick your local library from the list. You are then ready to start exploring.
If you need inspiration to help find your next read, take a look at the ‘Featured Items’ which shows books which recently been given great reviews by other local readers. These titles include Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart and Quite : love, life & eyeliner by Claudia Winkleman.
Not a library member yet? Join online now or pop in and sign up in person. It's free to join the library too.
Already a library member but forgotten your PIN number? Just visit the website to reset it online.
Council urges local people to 'see something, say something and do something'
Buckinghamshire Council launches new campaign to raise awareness of adult abuse
To tackle the misery of adult abuse, Buckinghamshire Council is urging local people if they see something, to say something and do something, to help protect adults potentially at risk.
In a brand new campaign, launching today (6 Sept) the Council’s clear message is that if you know about or have a suspicion that someone is in danger or being exploited, then the right thing to do is to play your part and report your concerns. Abuse of adults can take a variety of forms, from physical, neglect and financial abuse to mental or psychological abuse and it can happen to anybody over the age of 18.
Everyone deserves to live a happy life, in a safe place free from harm and neglect, regardless of age, gender, disability or ethnicity. So, as well as raising awareness of adult abuse, the campaign also spotlights the different types, the signs to look out for and most importantly what actions to take if abuse is suspected.
Some adults find it harder to get help and may be more at risk of harm and exploitation, such as those with a disability, a mental health condition or a temporary or long-term illness. Sadly, vulnerable adults are more likely to be a victim and can be specifically targeted because of their vulnerability.
Data held by the Council shows that during 2020/21 it received close to 12,000 reports of suspected abuse and neglect of an adult living in Buckinghamshire. Nine out of ten reports received were made by professionals, such as doctors, police, care providers, members of the Ambulance Service and Council employees.
Buckinghamshire Council’s Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Angela Macpherson says that every single person has a role to play to help keep adults in our communities safe from harm and neglect.
The Council’s dedicated web pages and factsheets are available for residents to refer to if they are concerned about a friend, relative, colleague or neighbour. They provide all the information needed so that we can all play our part to protect others who may be at risk of harm.
Concerns can be reported in three ways:
Call the Safeguarding Adults Team on: 01296 383204 or 0800 137 915
Fill out Buckinghamshire Council's online form
If you fear someone is in immediate danger, you should always dial 999.
For more information about adult safeguarding, please visit: here and click on the section 'Report a concern about abuse or neglect'.
TfB supporting vulnerable road users at the Older Drivers Forum 2021
Project EDWARD week is 13-17 September. Project EDWARD stands for ‘Every Day Without A Road Death’ and is an annual, UK-wide road safety campaign backed by the government, emergency services, highways agencies and road safety organisations.
To support Project EDWARD, Transport for Buckinghamshire’s road safety initiative – Travel Safe Bucks – will be focusing on vulnerable road users, with a particular focus on older drivers, throughout September.
On average, five people a day are killed on roads around Great Britain, with an additional 150,000 being injured each year too. Unfortunately, 20% of all deaths on our roads are older people. This figure is only set to rise, with older licence holders increasing each year.
We know that older motorists have a wealth of experience, confidence and tolerance. However, sight, hearing, reaction time and judgement of speed and distance may worsen with age.
Travel Safe Bucks will be speaking at the Older Drivers Forum 2021 to raise awareness of the risks that may increase for older drivers, and to promote our Mature Drivers Assessments, what people will get out of the assessment, why they’re important and how to book one.
The Older Drivers Forum will also cover much more than that, with six free webinars being held from 13-17 September. There are only 1,000 places for each webinar, so sign up quickly to secure your place.
If you or somebody you know could benefit from attending one of these free webinars, then register for your place by visiting: here
To find out more about our Mature Drivers Assessments, visit: here
Added September 1st 2021
Bucks County Council
Added August 25th 2021
Bucks County Council
Neighbourhood Watch Launch Impact Report 2021
Following the success of last year’s first-ever Neighbourhood Watch Impact Report, we are delighted to share this year’s Impact Report for 2020/21.
This report builds on last year with data and case studies demonstrating the continued hard work and dedication, and impact of our 90,000 volunteers and 2.3 million household members.
The report demonstrates how we are achieving each of our three ambitions within our 5-year strategy, which we embarked upon last year, namely being:
the authoritative voice on community-based crime prevention
the most popular gateway for citizens to engage in their locality
a recognised contributor to community health and wellbeing.
In addition to preventing crime and the fear of crime, we have made a significant impact in supporting communities, especially through the Covid-19 challenges.
As many charities have experienced, we have adapted the way we work and learned new ways to improve our services to serve our communities better. Whilst the restrictions have been relaxed over the Summer, we know we are not yet through these difficult times, and our role within communities is still just as much in demand as it was at the start of the pandemic.
None of the work we do would have been possible without people like you who support the work we do and the values we stand for. We want to thank you for your ongoing, unwavering support.
Visit ourwatch.org.uk/impact to download the report.
Bucks County Council
Buckinghamshire recycling centres join the fight against zombie batteries
Household recycling centres across Buckinghamshire are taking part in the national Take Charge campaign which urges consumers to join the fight against 'zombie' batteries by only recycling dead batteries using specialist battery recycling services and keeping them out of the general rubbish or recycling.
Because zombie batteries, like the zombies in horror films, have the power to rise from the grave... and to cause destruction in waste management and recycling facilities. That's why they need to be recycled properly.
Although all batteries should be recycled properly, powerful lithium-ion batteries are the most dangerous type if they are thrown into the general rubbish or ordinary recycling. These batteries are often found in products like laptops, tablets, mobile phones, radio-controlled toys, Bluetooth devices, shavers, electric toothbrushes, power tools, scooters and even e-cigarettes. Although they're safe to use normally, once dead, these zombie batteries have the power to cause fires or even explode if crushed or damaged during the waste treatment process.
The team at FCC Environment who manage the nine recycling centres on behalf of Buckinghamshire Council have recently had to deal with two such incidents:
A fire in the electrical bin at Beaconsfield Recycling Centre
A fire in the paper bin at Aylesbury Recycling Centre
It is thought that the cause of both fires was incorrect battery disposal. Thankfully, due to the prompt action taken by staff on each occasion, no one was hurt and little damage was done. Members of the public were evacuated and both recycling centres had to close while the Fire Brigade attended to extinguish the flames.
The Council's kerbside collection crews have also dealt with similar incidents recently with fires in the back of the collection vehicles, and the waste transfer station at High Heavens in Wycombe ─ where rubbish is collected for onward transfer to the Greatmoor Energy from Waste plant ─ suffered a severe battery-related blaze that caused considerable damage.
To remind household recycling centre visitors of this danger, Take Charge campaign banners and posters are now on display at all nine centres to highlight the importance of removing batteries from these items before recycling them. Additional battery recycling bins have been installed near to the electrical items bins to make it even easier to recycle your batteries correctly.
Recent data shows that, between April 2019 and March 2020, lithium-ion batteries alone were thought to be responsible for more than 250 fires at waste facilities – or well over a third (38%) of all such fires.