News

Back in production - COVID-19
Published: 30 Jun 2020

As we start the journey to return to work we are all seeking guidance and advice from the government and other national and international agencies. Here at Cedrec we are collating relevant guidance documents to help you return to work safely and with as little impact on the environment as possible.

Manufacturing and COVID-19

Whether production has just begun to resume on site or production has never stopped, there are now even more things to consider in the workplace to ensure employees health and safety.

There is numerous specific guidance to keep track of on:

that all aim to help employers and business in the manufacturing sector to operate or restart operations safely, and minimise the risk of the spread of coronavirus in the workplace.

General information on COVID- 19

Cedrec has created a detailed In Focus which sets out relevant advice about working safely during the pandemic across several sectors as well as being a central access point for many relevant guidance documents. This will be particularly useful for those responsible for managing health and safety on various sites around the UK. It is updated regularly so we recommend it is checked as often as possible in order to remain up-to-date on current advice.

The page can be accessed using the following link:

A new £80 million fund has been announced by the Government to help cut emissions from homes and energy intensive businesses. It will allow appropriate businesses to apply for grants to install technology that will help them cut carbon emissions and reduce their energy bills.

The fund includes £30 million aimed at manufacturers from car factories to steel plants to help them invest in green technologies to lower their carbon emissions.

£25 million will be spent on heat networks to help cut carbon and heating bills for residential customers. One such project in Gateshead will use geothermal water from disused mines to heat 1,250 homes.

There will also be £24 million spent on a retrofit scheme that will install green technology and insulation in houses to help them to become more energy efficient.

Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng, commented: ''We want to invest now to ensure we continue to propel the UK towards a stronger, greener future. This new £80 million investment will help to reduce emissions across our economy, which will save people money on energy bills and protect jobs in heavy industry.''

Business and Planning Bill published
Published: 29 Jun 2020

The Government has published the Business and Planning Bill which contains a range of measures aimed at helping businesses and the economy recover from the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had.

The provisions of the Bill address different business sectors as well as the planning process, introducing both temporary and permanent changes to legislation which will hopefully make things easier for businesses and the economy to transition from the period of lockdown to recovery.

Background

When lockdown measures were introduced in March 2020 in a bid to tackle and slow down the spread of Covid-19, many businesses had to cease trading. This period will have had an obvious and significant impact on businesses across the UK, all of which now face the strange prospect of re-opening their doors and beginning trade once more in a very different world.

The recovery will, therefore, be difficult without additional support.

That is where this Bill aims to help. Once it receives Royal assent, it will remove some short term obstacles for some business sectors, albeit temporarily, to help them bounce back more quickly following lockdown. Some of the measures proposed in the Bill are described below.

Changes to the planning system

The planning system has faced its own challenges during lockdown but has continued to operate throughout this period to try and support the economy and construction.

However, to ensure the system in England continues to operate effectively and that planning continues to support the construction sector and the economy, the Bill aims to introduce several new temporary measures, including:

  • a way in which developers can request that working hours on construction sites are extended, where such hours are included as a planning condition on planning permission;
  • an extension to the expiry of some planning permissions and listed building consents to ensure that planned developments which have not yet been started are given more time to be implemented given the disruption that the pandemic has had on the construction industry;
  • a similar extension granted in relation to outline planning permission;
  • more flexibility for the Planning Inspectorate to choose which type of procedure it will use to determine planning appeals - i.e. written representations, hearings or local inquiries (these amendments are permanent). The change will also cover appeals relating to listed buildings and conservation areas and also to hazardous substances consent;
  • temporary removal of the requirement for the Mayor of London to make the current Spatial Development Strategy available for physical inspection and to allow hard copies to be provided on request.

Goods vehicles

A test certificate issued within the past 12 months is required to use a heavy vehicle such as lorries or buses. However, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted the vehicle testing regime and it is assumed that once testing resumes there will be a surge in demand for such tests.

The Bill, therefore, will allow the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency to manage the demand by prioritising road safety. For example, it may test vehicles used for carrying dangerous goods as a priority, choosing to delay the tests for safer vehicles.

Once again, this is a temporary change implemented as a response to Covid-19.

Bounce Back Loan Schemes

Bounce Back Loan Schemes are a way for small businesses to quickly access loans to help with the economic disruption caused by Covid-19.

Usually, extensive paperwork needs to be submitted for loans and detailed examinations of business plans etc. have to take place. The Bill will allow lenders to rely on self-certification that they meet the eligibility criteria for the scheme and that they can afford to repay the loan. Lenders will, however, continue to carry out fraud checks.

Alcohol licensing

The Bill modifies existing legislation to ensure automatic extensions to on-sales alcohol licences to allow for off-sales, allowing licensed premises to sell alcohol for consumption off the premises if they cannot already do so. This change allows businesses to trade but maintain safe working practices and social distancing measures.

This temporary change will last until September 2021.

Outdoor seating

The Bill provides temporary measures to allow those selling food and drink by introducing a temporary fast-track process to obtain permission to put street furniture, such as tables and chairs, on the pavement outside the premises.

This will help some businesses to operate safely and to enforce social distancing measures whilst helping them to maximise opportunities for income.

For more information, see the:

After introducing an innovative strategy in 2018, Guernsey is now recycling and composting 73% of its household waste. Its 70% target on recycling of household waste by 2030 was exceeded in the first year of implementation of the strategy.

The increase is down to implementing measures such as separate food waste collections for composting and fortnightly general waste disposal. Also, the successful introduction of the pay-as-you-throw scheme, which involves placing a sticker with a separate charge of £1.40 for smaller bin bags up to 50 litres or £2.50 for a 90-litre black bag. This has helped islanders separate all possible waste for recycling or composting, before discarding items into the general waste bag.

In comparison, the average recycling rate of household waste collected by local authorities in England in 2019 is below 45% and has not improved over the last ten years. This figure falls short of the EU target of recycling a minimum of 50% of household waste by 2020.

Waste management in Guernsey is quite expensive, where on top of paying for each waste bag there is an annual standing charge of £85. This is because charges need to account for waste shipment due to the main landfill site on the island now reaching its capacity. The cost of disposal could pose an increased risk of fly-tipping, however, prosecution for such an offence carries a £20,000 fine and a criminal conviction, which is viewed by the authorities as a good deterrent.

A new survey carried out by Fletchers Serious Injury has found that of 1,000 people asked, over 27% suffered a serious injury caused by a workplace accident. 

Over 19% of respondents said they would not pursue a claim if they suffered a serious injury, and one in eight respondents said they would be worried about backlash from an employer and damaged career prospects if they tried to claim for a workplace injury.

When queried over motives for not pursuing a claim following a workplace accident, 41% said they would not know how to go about taking legal action. This raises concerns that employers may not be making employees aware of their legal rights and a failure to ensure correct documents are in place, such as health and safety manuals and employee handbooks.

The survey also found differences between serious injury rates in age and sex. Men were revealed to be more likely to be at risk, 33% having suffered a serious injury compared to 18% of women. Also of younger workers between 18-44, 36% had reported a serious workplace injury compared to 13% of workers aged 45 and over. Of course, there are other factors that will play a part in these findings from worker knowledge and experience, job roles, etc. that will impact on the risk of serious injury to an individual.

Chief Legal Officer at Fletchers Serious Injury, Adrian Denson, commented: ''When a person suffers a serious injury at work, coping with the direct physical and psychological consequences is extremely difficult indeed. And as they focus on each small step along the long road to recovery, it can be easy for the person to put their legal rights to one side. The very thought of bringing a legal claim can be daunting with many people not really knowing where they would start.''

''Even more concerning is the substantial number of people that may be suffering in silence out of fear that seeking the help they need will affect their career further down the line, as well as their employer’s bottom line. This is a false, and damaging misconception – particularly when a serious injury can lead to a person being unable to return to work for a long time and often, when they do return, can still limit their ability to carry out their work without pain or worry.''

Between January and March 2020 over 40% of the UK's electricity was generated from renewable energy.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) released data which showed the largest increase in year on year quarterly generation, with renewable generation up 25% on last year for the same quarter.

This increase in generation can be attributed to a combination of both increased renewables capacity and favourable weather conditions.

Wind generation accounted for the majority of the share in renewable energy, with 32.4% offshore wind, up 53% on the previous year and 31.4% onshore wind, up 29% from last years first quarter. Some of this increase was due to an increase in capacity, with offshore wind experiencing a 19% capacity increase from 2019. Both offshore and onshore wind generation also had increased production due to high wind speeds, with February seeing some of the highest average wind speeds since 2000.

Bioenergy was responsible for over 25% of renewables capacity, followed by hydro at 6% and almost 5% from solar PV.


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