COVID-19: Changes to council services
**This is an archived news article published on 24 March 2020.**
Further measures have been taken by Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council to reduce the impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) whilst keeping vital services running.
Local authorities are responsible for a range of statutory services for people and businesses, such as waste collection, registrar services and highways inspections.
Following the Government's announcement last night (Monday 23 March) instructing members of the public to stay at home, the council has announced measures designed to help people stay safe and reduce the pressure on the NHS, while keeping all of its statutory services operational.
The measures announced on Tuesday 24 March include:
- Residual and recycling waste
- Residual waste and recycling waste collections will continue on the usual scheduled days, but the times residents usually have their collections will vary;
- Residents are reminded to put their bins out at 7am on their normal waste collection day, to be brought back in at 7pm that evening. Refuse loaders will not return if people do not present their bins.
Further advice: People with confirmed Covid-19 or who are self-isolating with symptoms should store their personal waste, such as used tissues and disposable cleaning cloths, securely within disposable bags. These bags should then be removed and placed into another bag and securely tied or sealed and kept separate from other wastes. This must be stored for at least 72 hours before being put into your usual domestic or household waste bin.
- Green waste
- Garden waste collections will cease, as the council has seen a reduction in staff levels, so the council is prioritising the collection of kerbside residual waste and recycling waste;
- Residents can still use their green bin to store green waste, but once this is full, please do not put green waste into your other waste bins as this may jeopardise the residual and recycling waste collections. If you have excess garden waste, please store in the corner of your garden.
- Trade Waste
- Trade waste collections will continue to support the local businesses which are still operating.
- Dunsdale Household Waste and Recycling Centre
- Dunsdale Household Waste and Recycling Centre is now closed.
- Winter Maintenance and Highways Inspections
- Gritters will continue to operate when required and highways inspections, which identify critical defects to the roads, will continue to ensure the safety of those using the roads. An emergency response to incidents on the highways will still take place;
- All non-essential improvement projects to roads will pause until further notice.
- Bereavement services
- Burials will still take place, but there is a limit of who can attend burials and services. Government instruction is that a maximum of eight people are to be in attendance which includes undertakers, funeral staff, and loved ones;
- Cremations will be taking place, but burials of ashes will pause, to minimise the congregation of people. Ashes will be kept at the crematorium until a ceremony can be booked at a later date.
- Pest control
- The council will operate on an 'emergency callout basis' due to the public health nature of the service.
- Stray dogs
- The service is to be provided on an emergency cover basis.
- Fly-tipping clearance
- Fly-tipped waste reported to the council will be collected but will not be cleared until more than 72 hours have passed, which is the lifespan of the coronavirus outside of the human body.
- Emptying litter bins
- These will be emptied when required for public health reasons, but the council expects these will need emptying less frequently due to the Government's instruction for members of the public to stay at home.
- Grass cutting and road sweeping
- General grass cutting will be suspended until further notice;
- Roadside grass cutting, a service provided to ensure road safety, will be paused for three weeks but will be monitored regularly;
- Road sweeping will be suspended until further notice.
- Play areas and playgrounds
- All play areas and playgrounds are now closed until further notice;
- Under normal circumstances, the council carries out inspections to the play areas to ensure the equipment is safe. This will be suspended, and instead, a weekly check of the area will be introduced to ensure the play area is still locked and appropriate signage is visible explaining that the area is closed.
- Public Parks
- Public parks will remain open so members of the public can still exercise once a day;
- Guisborough Forest and Flatts Lane Country Parks are to stay open, but their visitor centres and play areas remain closed. Errington Woods and Foxrush Farm are also to stay open;
- All members of the public are reminded to observe social distancing requirements instructed by the Government and to only leave home for one form of exercise per day;
- Car parks and pedestrian access to these areas are still open to the public, but please be mindful of the social distancing instructions set by Government.
- Allotments will be closed to try and minimise people congregating in one place for long periods of time.
- CCTV monitoring services will continue.
- Anti-social behaviour (ASB)
- The council will still support the police to help tackle anti-social behaviour.
- Vehicle maintenance will continue for the council's refuse vehicles and transport vehicles, but Taxi tests and MOTs have been suspended.
Councillor Barry Hunt, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Environment at Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council, said: “The council is doing everything it can to keep our essential services going whilst limiting the exposure of our staff and members of the public to the virus.
“Some of these decisions have been difficult to make, and we are asking for people's patience and understanding during this extremely challenging time. We want to ensure the safety of vulnerable people, our communities and our staff, so please stay at home unless you are making an essential journey, or you are doing your daily exercise.
“I would personally like to thank the council staff who are working so hard to keep these vital services running."