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To coincide with the UK Government's COVID-19 guidance for transport operators and providers, the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) and the Department for Transport have published a letter to reassure drivers, and to remind businesses of their obligations to provide suitable toilet and hand washing facilities to drivers visiting their premises. 

Its a legal requirement under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations SI 1992/3004 that businesses which make or receive deliveries ensure that drivers have easy and safe access to toilets and hand washing facilities to support their health and wellbeing whilst carrying out their important work, which supports the economy.

The full letter reads as follows:

"To whom it may concern,

Access to hygiene facilities for drivers

This letter has been produced by the Department for Transport and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to reassure drivers, and to remind businesses of their obligations under the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, to provide suitable toilet and hand washing facilities to drivers visiting their premises.

Businesses which make or receive deliveries, should ensure that drivers have easy and safe access to toilets and hand washing facilities to support their health and wellbeing whilst carrying out their important work, which supports the economy.

Preventing access is against the law.

Regulations 20 and 21 state that suitable and sufficient sanitary conveniences and washing facilities shall be provided at readily accessible places and that hot and cold running water and soap must be available to use. Whilst this obligation for business is not new, ensuring that hygiene facilities are made available to visiting drivers is especially important during the current COVID-19 crisis, to avoid unwanted public health implications and to help tackle the spread of the virus, at a time when there are fewer locations operating with facilities that drivers can access.

HSE guidance states that drivers must have access to welfare facilities located in the premises they visit as part of their work. The responsibility in law to provide access rests with the person in control of the premises.

You can obtain more information on infection control by contacting:

Public Health England: www.gov.uk/government/organisations/public-health-england
Public Health Wales: www.wales.nhs.uk
Health Protection Scotland: www.hps.scot.nhs.uk"

For more information, see:

Guidance has been issued on the NHS test and trace service, which explains how employers and businesses can play their part in slowing the spread of the virus, protecting the health and care system and saving lives.

What is NHS test and trace?

The NHS test and trace service forms a central part of the Government’s coronavirus (COVID-19) recovery strategy, which aims to help the nation return to normal as soon as possible for as many people as possible, in a way that is safe and protects the NHS and social care sector.

Once launched, the service will also play a vital role in providing an early warning if COVID-19 activity is increasing locally, regionally or nationally.

This information will then be used to inform the Government’s approach to stop the spread of the virus.

The NHS test and trace service:

  • provides testing for anyone who has symptoms of coronavirus to find out if they have the virus;
  • gets in touch with anyone who has had a positive test result to help them share information about any close recent contacts they have had;
  • alerts those contacts, where necessary, and notifies them they need to self-isolate to help stop the spread of the virus.

The role of employers

It is vital that employers play their part by:

  • making their workplaces as safe as possible;
  • encouraging workers to heed any notifications to self-isolate and supporting them when in isolation.

Although this may seem disruptive for businesses, it is less disruptive than an outbreak of COVID-19 in the workplace will be, and far less disruptive than periods in lockdown.

Employers must continue to follow health and safety workplace guidance for their sector such as:

  • making every reasonable effort to enable working from home as a first option;
  • where working from home isn’t possible, identifying sensible measures to control the risks in the workplace;
  • keeping the workplace clean, maintaining safe working separation, and preventing transmission through unnecessary touching of potentially contaminated surfaces.

The measures employers put in place to maintain social distancing will depend on their individual business circumstances, including their working environment, the size of the site and the number of workers.

Workplace risk

COVID-19 is a new risk that must be incorporated into workplace risk assessments. Employers must therefore carry out a new COVID-19 risk assessment if they have not already done so.

The NHS test and trace service supplements the risk mitigation measures taken by employers by identifying people who have had close recent contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus and advising them to self-isolate.

This will reduce the risk of a rise in infections among the general population.

Supporting employers with a workplace outbreak

If multiple cases of coronavirus appear in a workplace, an outbreak control team from either the local authority or Public Health England will, if necessary, be assigned to help the employer manage the outbreak.

Employers should seek advice from their local authority as a first step.

Supporting workers who need to self-isolate

Employers should support workers who need to self-isolate and must not ask them to attend the workplace.

They should continue to communicate with workers in self-isolation and provide support. This includes allowing people to work from home if they remain well and if it is practicable to do so. This might include finding alternative work that can be completed at home during the period of self-isolation.

If people can’t work from home, employers must ensure any self-isolating employee is receiving sick pay and give them the option to use their paid leave days if they prefer.

The NHS test and trace service will provide a notification that can be used as evidence that someone has been told to self-isolate.

Contact tracing: contact with co-workers

The NHS test and trace service will follow up with people who need to self-isolate because they have had close recent contact with someone, who might be a colleague, who has tested positive for coronavirus.

Guidance for workers

Workers who are self-isolating because they have symptoms of coronavirus or live with someone who has symptoms of coronavirus, can get an isolation note through NHS111 online.

Anyone who is told to self-isolate should share the evidence provided by NHS test and trace to show that they have been told to self-isolate and explain to their employer that this means that they cannot come to work.

Workers must self-isolate whenever they receive a notification from the NHS test and trace service asking them to do so. If this happens on multiple occasions, they should consider how to better follow social distancing requirements.

Workers who think the contacts that have triggered these notifications are workplace contacts, should ask their employer to consider what further mitigating actions could be taken to reduce the risk of COVID-19, such as using screens to separate people or "cohorting" to reduce the number of people each person has contact with.

For more information, see the:

The Scottish Conservation Finance Project, a report by the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), has proposed a series of measures that could provide £1 billion in new investment for Scottish nature conservation.

The project aims to generate new forms of investment in Scotland’s stocks of natural capital in ways that will deliver significant environmental, social and economic benefits, as well as returns for investors. It seeks to achieve this by bringing together organisations from the private, public and non-profit sectors to develop investment and funding models for large-scale nature conservation activities.

One of the measures proposed includes a new green bond scheme that could be offered by local councils to investors to raise money for sustainable drainage schemes and green spaces.

There are also other measures including a marine fund, a vacant and derelict land fund, as well as nature-based carbon payments.

The report seeks to set out a road map of how investments, loans, levies and 'blended' finance opportunities could generate a massive financial boost for biodiversity.

Chief Executive of SEPA, Terry A’Hearn, commented: ''The global pandemic has drawn into sharp focus the connection between social, environmental and economic prosperity. As we start to focus on recovery, we must recognise the opportunity to be more inclusive and more sustainable. The £1 billion challenge provides a real opportunity to bring together real-world projects that spark regeneration of communities, build green businesses and create new jobs, with investors that understand that a successful, resilient economy depends not just on achieving financial returns - but on creating social and environmental value and success.''

The Secretary of State has granted development consent for Cleve Hill Solar Farm in Kent.

Once built the site will comprise a solar photovoltaic array made up of 880,000 solar panels, electrical storage in the form of a lithium battery storage plant and connection infrastructure. The generation capacity will be over 350MW and enough to power 91,000 homes, making it the UK's largest solar farm.

The development is anticipated to cost £450 million and will operate largely without Government subsidy. Such a large scale renewable energy project will help towards the UK's climate change targets.

However the development has not been without controversy, and there have been many objections to its scale and location since plans were submitted back in 2017. Environmental campaigners raised concerns over the developments destruction of the landscape, loss of farmland, and the damage to wildlife, with the RSPB, Greenpeace and the Campaign to Protect Rural England all citing objections to the plans. 

The Planning Inspectorate’s Chief Executive, Sarah Richards, commented: ''The Planning Inspectorate is committed to giving local communities the opportunity of being involved in the examination of projects that may affect them. Local people, the local authority and other interested parties were able to participate in a 6-month long examination. The Examining Authority listened and gave full consideration to local views before making their recommendation.''

Plans to preserve native woodland and scrub by the addition of a habitat management area were included in the projects development consent in attempts to minimise the sites impact on the local environment.

There were also safety concerns raised by objectors to the plans, who were worried about the risk of explosion from the huge battery storage plant on the site. The site owners said they are working with industry leading battery suppliers and provided reassurances on safety standards.

Cleve Hill Solar farm is a joint project between Hive Energy and Wilson Energy, who hope to begin construction next year and have the site operational by 2023. They claim the development will bring £1 million in annual revenue to local authorities, as well as creating new jobs.

Battery developers AMTE Power and Britishvolt are jointly assessing the potential for a £4 billion battery facility.

The two British firms aim to create and expand a domestic manufacturing supply chain for a diverse portfolio of lithium-ion batteries, in what would be the UK's first gigafactory. 

Dubbed 'the GigaPlant' they aim to develop a 30+ gigawatt-hour factory which would help cut the need to import battery components from Asia and could create up to 4,000 jobs in the UK.

The facility would help to support the growing demand for electric vehicles and power storage projects which would help towards the UK's 2050 net-zero goal.

Britishvolt CEO Leo Carlstrom said: ''The UK government's goal to phase out sales of fossil fuel cars by 2035 or earlier and shift towards a low carbon electricity grid would necessitate the unprecedented electrification of vehicles, and reliance on renewable energy will require extensive battery storage. It is costly and carbon-intensive to have lithium-ion batteries imported from the Far East, and this GigaPlant would cement a solid onshore supply chain to ensure quality and eliminate future uncertainty of supply.''

Kevin Brundish, CEO at AMTE Power, commented: ''The current coronavirus crisis had further highlighted the need for the UK to have a robust domestic supply chain for batteries, and that the creation of a GigaPlant would place the UK in a strong position to service automotive and energy storage markets. The scalable production of lithium-ion cells is key to electrifying vehicles and would drive new manufacturing revenues and new employment, and can be built on AMTE's focus on the supply of specialised cells, thereby continuing the country's tradition of excellence in battery cell innovation.''

Both firms are also working on their own individual plans to scale up battery-making facilities across the UK, and there is potential for them to combine their planned independent sites to deliver a larger scale battery-making facility.

Whilst lockdown and social distancing measures meant it was not business as usual for regulators like the Environment Agency, this did not prevent them from carrying out their role of regulating the waste industry.

Site visits to those premises that could cause serious environmental harm still continue, but in other areas, the Environment Agency have used other means to undertake their work.

Virtual inspections of waste sites have been carried out to check compliance with the Environment Agency using online services such as Zoom to assist in their work. They have also been checking sites CCTV footage from and requesting evidence from businesses to check compliance.

Such remote working techniques have been widely adopted and used to carry out various checks of permitted waste sites.

Area Environment Manager for the Environment Agency, David Hudson, commented: ''We’ve been able to innovate and use technology to continue to regulate throughout this pandemic. Working remotely, we have received all of the necessary paperwork and photographs and carried out meetings on Zoom, which included a site tour via real-time CCTV, to check sites comply with the regulations of their permits.''

''Coronavirus is not an excuse to operate illegally. We are continuing to work closely with businesses and industry to help them meet their legal requirements and we are continuing to enforce regulatory requirements, while following the government’s guidance on social distancing. We make clear in our approach to regulation and enforcement that we expect operators to take all reasonable steps to comply with regulatory requirements using contingency plans to help them comply.''


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