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Added Jan 20th 2021
Bucks County Council
Scammers prey on the vulnerable charging for vaccines they don’t have and stealing financial data
Around the UK, there are reports of dangerous, fake NHS text messages circulating, telling people that they’re eligible to apply for the COVID-19 vaccine. The link takes you to an extremely convincing fake NHS website that asks for personal details including bank/card details.
Buckinghamshire Council’s Trading Standards team are also receiving information that cold calls regarding the vaccine are taking place, where scammers are asking people to pay for the vaccine over the phone.
Most of these vaccine scams are targeting elderly residents who receive a cold call to advise that their vaccination would be carried out in their home, and that the caller requires their name, address and also financial details to pay for the vaccine.
Other reports relate to approaches made by text and from a recorded voice message on the telephone. In each case the recipient is required to respond by clicking a link in the text message or by pressing 1 when receiving the call. They are then asked to give personal information, as well as financial details to book their vaccination.
Fred Wilson, Buckinghamshire Council Member for Regulatory Services says “I am very disappointed that at a time when many people are seeing the vaccine as hope for the future, scammers are trying to cash in.”
He adds, “It’s important to remember the vaccine is free and the NHS will never require you to hand over financial details in exchange for it.”
The vaccine is free and only available from the NHS who will contact you when it is your turn. At present, appointments are only being offered to the public who are over 80 years old, workers in care homes and NHS staff.
The NHS will NEVER ask you to press a button on your keypad or send a text to confirm you want to receive the vaccine, and NEVER ask for payment or for your bank details.
For information on the Buckinghamshire vaccine programme, which details who is being vaccinated, vaccination sites and the number of residents vaccinated so far, please visit: Here
As with all cold call fraud Trading Standards advice is:-
Never engage with someone or allow them access to your home unless you are able to verify their authenticity and who they are.
Be sceptical, stay calm, and don’t be afraid to hang up, bin it, delete it or shut the door
Report all scams to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or if a person feels threatening phone 999.
To deter visits from cold callers, residents can display a no cold calling sticker by their front doors. To obtain a Stop Cold Calling Sticker Pack or to report an incident please contact Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards via the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 0808 223 1133.
Leader of the Council calls out HS2 Limited’s attempts to keep local residents informed
Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, has written to the Chairman of the Government’s Transport Select Committee (TSC) about the lack of effective monitoring HS2 Limited does of its works and contractors in Buckinghamshire.
Martin said: “I urge the Select Committee to insist that HS2 Ltd and its contractors do as they said they would when they set out their proposals to Parliament. Faced with the delivery phase of this unwanted project, the least we should expect is considerate, well communicated implementation. However, despite the assurances from HS2 that they will be a “good neighbour” we are not currently experiencing that. Instead HS2 issues are diverting tax-payers’ resources away from delivering vital services during a pandemic, as we are having to deal with countless local issues which are caused, and not adequately addressed, by HS2 Ltd and its contractors.
The Council has historically opposed the HS2 project and continues to do so for many valid reasons. It dissects the county and provides no tangible benefits to Buckinghamshire. We have all the dis-benefits of a large-scale construction project and none of the benefits, with the damage being done to our environment and the visual impact completely irreversible.”
At the meeting of the TSC on 6 January, it’s second six monthly oral evidence session on the progress of HS2, evidence was given by Phil Gaskin, Chairman of Calvert Green Parish Council, an area hugely impacted by HS2. He stated “that there is no quick and simple way of resolving issues with HS2 Ltd.”
Both Greg Smith MP for Buckingham and Mr Gaskin raised the need for independent oversight of the project and suggested the implementation of local sheriff style appointments, to be told by Mark Thurston, HS2’s CEO that these roles were already in existence. No-one has seen these officers in Buckinghamshire.
Councillor Tett added: “On this basis I urge the Select Committee to ensure that there is effective monitoring of the contractors and HS2 Ltd’s decisions to implement the project differently to the proposals set out to Parliament, and for Buckinghamshire Council to be appropriately re-imbursed for the additional pressures which the project implementation is putting on the authority.”
Buckinghamshire Council shortlisted for the Keep Britain Tidy Network Awards
Buckinghamshire Council’s entry for the Great British September Clean Award has been selected as a shortlisted finalist at the Keep Britain Tidy Network Awards 2021, which will take place virtually on 3 February. The entry was from the Southern Waste Team and focussed on the clean-up efforts of residents in the south of the county.
In response to government COVID-19 guidelines, Keep Britain Tidy postponed their Spring Clean campaign and it was relaunched as the September Clean 2020, which Buckinghamshire Council – along with local volunteer groups and residents – got actively involved with.
Due to the amount of people using Buckinghamshire’s parks and open spaces for exercise during lockdown, unfortunately there was a significant increase in the amount of litter being discarded by some of the visitors. This litter not only looked unsightly, but it also had the potential to damage the environment and be harmful to wildlife.
To help with this, 30 volunteer litter-picking groups took part in the September Clean 2020 across three areas in South Buckinghamshire. Some of these groups were local community or environmental groups, other helpers included town and parish councils.
In total, the council’s waste team delivered 235 litter pickers and 920 bags for litter pick events during the September clean. Almost 42% of groups taking part did not require litter pickers as they had them from previous events or had their own.
To make the collections COVID-secure, a new online form was developed where organisers could request contactless pick-up or delivery of equipment and request the waste to be collected after the event. Groups were also encouraged to keep the litter pickers for future events to minimize the amount of litter pickers being returned to the council. Any litter pickers that were returned were then kept in storage for at least 72 hours before being cleaned and distributed again.
Totals across Chiltern, Wycombe & South Bucks areas:
Total volunteers: 458
Total bags collected: 551
Total hours spent litter picking by groups: 77
Total person-hours spent litter picking during September clean: 1,034
Further information on Keep Britain Tidy Network Awards 2021 can be found here:
Have your say on Chiltern area car parks Public Spaces Protection Order
Consultation open until 21 February
There is currently a Public Spaces Protection Order in place at 21 council-controlled car parks in the Chiltern area – and Buckinghamshire Council is now inviting residents, businesses and anyone with an interest to let us know if it should be extended.
A Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) is a legal power which allows councils to deal with a specific nuisance or problem in a defined area. These are problems that negatively affect the quality of life for local people. The order imposes conditions on the use of that area and these conditions apply to everybody.
The order for the 21 car parks has been in place since 2018 and is due to expire at the end of April 2021. It “prohibits the use of a motor vehicle, or creation of noise from a motor vehicle, or behaviour by a person in a way likely to cause nuisance or annoyance to a member of the public, or a risk of harm, damage or injury to a person or property."
Cllr Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities & Public Health, said: “If you are worried about anti-social behaviour in any of these car parks, this consultation is an opportunity to say if you would like the PSPO to remain in place or not. There is also the chance to add any comments that you feel need to be considered.”
The consultation, along with further details about the PSPO, timings, the names of the 21 car parks and maps of their locations can be found here
If you need the consultation survey in another format, please contact us at email@example.com
The closing date for this consultation is 21 February 2021.
Buckinghamshire Council will review the comments received and make a final decision on the PSPO extensions by the end of April 2021. If agreed, the order will be extended for either one or two further years.
Residents urged to correctly recycle small electrical devices and batteries in order to prevent fires
Buckinghamshire Council and Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service are calling on residents to correctly recycle small electrical devices and batteries in order to prevent fires. This advice follows an incident on Monday morning (18 January) in Padbury where a fire broke out on board one of Buckinghamshire Council’s waste vehicles.
The cause of the fire, which was quickly responded to by both collection crew and the Fire Service, has been determined as an Xbox games controller. To prevent further fires, Buckinghamshire Council would like to encourage all residents to take a look at ways in which you can safely recycle small electrical devices and batteries by going here
While unwanted batteries and small electrical items can be recycled, it’s vital that they are not put into general waste or recycling bins as they can ignite and cause a fire.
Across Buckinghamshire, batteries can be recycled at the kerbside if placed inside a standard carrier bag and then left on top of the resident’s recycling bin. These will then be collected by council crews on the day they normally empty the bin. Small electrical items (which can be broadly categorised by anything with a plug, battery or charger) should be taken to your local household recycling centre. These items include:
Mobile phones and chargers;
Small electrical power tools.
If the electrical item is larger than a shoe box (for example, microwave ovens and car batteries) it will need to be taken to a local Household Recycling Centre. Alternatively, residents can arrange for items to be collected, for a fee, using the council’s bulky waste collection services.
In the past 12 months, eight fires have broken out on board the council’s waste vehicles, with ignited loads often having to be dumped on the road to stop the spread of fire. In these scenarios the Fire Service hose down the waste load and use heat-sensing technology to ensure the fire is put out completely. Once the load is hosed down, it can no longer be recycled, meaning just one small electrical item or battery disposed of incorrectly can sadly contaminate a whole load of recyclable materials.
Station Commander, Steve Cook, of Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service said:
“Fires in waste trucks place firefighters at risk from a wide variety of hazards, not only from the fire and smoke but also from the waste material itself. Often these fires begin deep in the load and smoulder undetected, and may only be discovered when the load is transferred at the waste depot.
“Fires involving batteries and discarded electrical appliances have a significant impact on our resources – the average waste truck fire takes eight firefighters around three hours to deal with. Should the fire involve the waste depot itself then the fire can last for several days, requiring 30 or more firefighters.
“However, if residents recycle correctly, these fires can be avoided in the future.”
Bill Chapple OBE, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, added:
“First, I would like to say thank you for the swift action of our crews and the local Fire Service in dealing with this incident. Fortunately, no one was hurt and those involved responded safely, quickly and efficiently to keep things under control.
“However, these fires are concerning but easily avoidable. I would ask all Buckinghamshire residents looking to dispose of small electrical devices, batteries and gas canisters (the most common culprits of waste vehicle fires) to please visit here so they can do so correctly. This will help prevent any future waste vehicle fires.”
For more information on Buckinghamshire Council’s recycling and waste service, please visit: here
Added Jan 13th 2021
Added Jan 6th 2021
Improve Security and Help Nhw At A Stroke
Encouraged by the police, most of us invest in making our property more secure – better locks, alarms, CCTV doorbells – but it can be costly. But here is an opportunity to get hold of a police-approved product you may not have tried at a special price – and help Neighbourhood Watch (NHW) at the same time. It can – at a stroke:
Make your property more secure from burglars
Make it much more likely that anything you lose will be returned to you
It is SelectaDNA. With our discount code (see below) it costs just £27/kit, and NHW will also get £2 for every kit sold to support our valuable work!
Everyone, including criminals, know all about the value of DNA in solving crimes. Now, with SelectaDNA you can mark all your valuables with a DNA identity that is TOTALLY UNIQUE to you. The small kit contains a liquid loaded with a special DNA identity. All you need to do is mark your treasured items and valuables with a little of the liquid to identify them as yours. You simply register your code on the database so the police can trace stolen items back to you.
But you would naturally prefer that they are not stolen in the first place! So SelectaDNA comes with two different kinds of stickers in the kit. A circular one is designed to go onto large items as an obvious deterrent. The larger rectangular label goes onto windows or doors to be obvious to potential burglars, putting them off from bothering with your house, because they know that they will get less money for marked items. The DNA may even be traceable on their body for a time. A handy guide is included in the pack to help you through the simple process, including the registration of your unique SelectaDNA liquid.
SelectaMark, the makers of SelectaDNA Home kits have been working with police forces in the UK and across the world for many years, and their high-tech products play an important part in fighting crimes of many kinds.
Burglaries remain a major problem in Thames Valley, and the devastating loss and distress caused by this kind of invasion of your property takes a long time to get over. We really believe that this advanced technological security is worth the normal price of £67.84 including delivery. Our discount code improves on this dramatically.
We believe that by making SelectaDNA available to you for just £27 including delivery, Neighbourhood Watch is bringing you a security improvement not to be missed!
Just click this link to the SelectaDNA online shop, enter NWTVCSB in the Promotional Code box at Checkout, and pick up this great NHW security enhancement bargain. And we will greatly appreciate the contribution that your purchase will generate to help us in our work.
Bucks County Council
Cabinet announces 'incredibly difficult' budget proposals
Cabinet today has announced its budget proposals for the next financial year starting in April, which includes plans for a 1.99% increase in basic council tax, together with a 2% rise in the Government proposed Adult Social Care Precept to help fund care for the elderly and vulnerable.
Described as 'incredibly difficult', the billion pound plans focus primarily on next year. This is due to the uncertainties over future funding levels given the on-going effects of the coronavirus pandemic and comes the day after a third lockdown was announced by the Government.
Cabinet's proposals, which factor in the increasing demand for services and loss of income to the council as a result of the pandemic, are being seen as a 'Covid-19 response and recovery' budget. However, the proposals also include investment in key service areas such as schools and school improvement, road maintenance, strategic transport and infrastructure projects, waste, housing and homelessness and leisure centres. A small amount of the council's reserves (£115k) is also planned to be used to help balance the books and reduce future identified risks.
Speaking after the Cabinet meeting, Leader of the Council, Martin Tett said the pandemic was having a momentous effect on budget planning. "While we are grateful for the significant Government grants we are getting to cope with the effects of the virus, it remains incredibly difficult to deliver a legally balanced budget. Yesterday's lockdown announcement just highlights the uncertainty and the difficulty of knowing what's round the next corner.
"That said, we believe these proposals are realistic, flexible, and most importantly, affordable to local taxpayers given the circumstances. Indeed, the Government proposes councils increase the amount they raise specifically for Adult Social Care by 3%, however, while there remains acute pressures in adult social care, we believe that this would not be reasonable given the pressure on residents' finances as a result of Covid. We are therefore proposing only to increase this by 2%, rather than the 3% allowed by Government.
"While I see this as a budget that manages current pressures, it's also a budget that paves the way for longer term economic recovery post-Covid, which invests in infrastructure and also puts us firmly in the starting blocks to help rebuild Buckinghamshire and importantly jobs, after the pandemic ends."
The proposals will now go on to be fully scrutinised next week by a special cross-party Budget Select Committee. Their findings will be presented to Cabinet on 16 February so Cabinet members can agree the final budget proposals to be presented to the full Council at its meeting on 24 February.
The new lockdown and support available for residents
During the Prime Minister’s address to the nation on 4 January, he announced that people who are clinically extremely vulnerable will be asked to shield again.
What does this mean?
If you are clinically extremely vulnerable you will receive a letter from the government in the coming days outlining what precautions you should take. You should not leave the house to go to work, to the shops or the pharmacy. When you receive your letter you will need to register here - if you require support or wish to access a priority supermarket delivery slot.
If you would like to look at what local support is available to help you shield effectively, visit the Bucks Online Directory
If you need urgent help, fill in the contact us form on our website – or call the council on 01296 395000.
For the latest shielding advice please visit – here
I am not clinically extremely vulnerable but need support during the lockdown
Residents of Buckinghamshire who are struggling during lockdown can get support from the Council and the local community in a number of ways:
To see a list of local support groups and services near you, visit here
Log onto our website and let us know what support you need – fill in the ‘contact us’ form –
If you need to speak to someone about the impact of COVID on a vulnerable person or family, please call the Council on 01296 395000.
Changes to Bucks Council services due to new national lockdown
Following the announcement of a new national lockdown in England, Buckinghamshire Council has made some urgent changes to several of its key services.
Library staff will be deployed to assist with the vulnerable and shielding programme, so from Wednesday 6 January all Buckinghamshire libraries will be closed until further notice.
Loans have been extended and no fines will be charged during the lockdown, so customers are advised to keep their books at home and to not worry about returning them at the moment.
On site access to Buckinghamshire Archives will also remain closed – see this page for more information.
The online library is still available for eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, eNewpapers and online reference services such as Ancestry, and new members can join online here.
Internet access as well as ‘emergency assistance’ will be available for residents through the Council Access Points located at:
Walton Street, Aylesbury
The Gateway, Aylesbury
King George V House, Amersham
Queen Victoria Road, High Wycombe
Schools and colleges
All have now switched to remote learning. However, children of key workers and vulnerable children can still go to school.
Funerals and weddings
Funerals can still take place with up to 30 guests. Weddings and equivalent ceremonies will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances and with up to six people.
Household bin collections
These will continue as normal, and residents can check their bin collection dates by going here
Household Recycling Centres
All sites will remain open during the lockdown.
Road repairs and street cleaning
These services will carry on as normal.
Parks and green spaces
Buckinghamshire’s three country parks will remain open.
Leisure centres and sports facilities
In line with current restrictions, all Buckinghamshire Council leisure and sports centres – with the exception of playgrounds – will remain closed during the lockdown. This includes The South Buckinghamshire Golf Course and outdoor sports courts and multi-use games areas.
Gareth Williams, Cabinet Member for Communities & Public Health, said:
“I know that many people will find the new national lockdown difficult to deal with, but in order to stem the rise in coronavirus cases in Buckinghamshire, it’s vital that we all continue to play our part by only going out when necessary, and sticking to the government’s ‘Hands, Face, Space’ guidance.
“Hopefully, with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccines across the county, we will soon start to see the tide turning on coronavirus cases. Once this happens, we can then look forward to beginning a return to normality.
”If you need to contact the council during the lockdown, please do so via our Contact Centre either by calling 0300 131 6000 or going online here.”
For the latest information on Buckinghamshire Council services, please visit here.