Several major projects are being unavoidably paused or delayed as councils and health services deal with the impacts of the Coronavirus emergency.
Reduced staffing, redeployment of staff to support the vulnerable, supply chain disruption and the impacts of self-isolation and travel restrictions are all having an impact.
Together they mean some key pieces of work are having to be rescheduled and start dates pushed back.
Some of the key services or projects affected include:
- M5 Junction 25 improvements – works continue with a reduced workforce on site. This is in line with current Government policy, which is that construction activity can continue as long as Public Health England guidance on social distancing is maintained.
- Toneway Creech Castle junction improvements – planned to start on 14 April, this will now be paused until at least July in light of uncertainty over materials, sub-contractors and key utilities work. It will also allow contractor Alun Griffiths to focus its resources on the M5 Junction 25 project.
- Recycle More – Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) is pausing the introduction of the new service that will increase the range of materials that can be recycled from the kerbside. This is due to disruption of essential depot upgrades, delays to deliveries of new recycling containers and the inability to carry our large-scale public engagement and communication.
- Climate Emergency Strategy – completion of the cross-council draft strategy, and consultation on it, will be delayed until the current crisis is over. The draft strategy was scheduled to be published in April, consulted on in April and May, and the final strategy due to go to councils for final approval in July.
- Climate Change Fund – applications to Somerset County Council’s £1m Climate Change Fund were due to be invited from 1 May. This will be reviewed and launched as soon as possible.
- Highways – all planned highway maintenance works, including Small Improvement Schemes, are now suspended. This will allow Somerset County Council highways teams to focus resources on safety repairs and emergency works to ensure safe passage for emergency services, key workers and deliveries of supplies.
- The Fit For My Future programme – Somerset Clinical Commissioning Group and Somerset County Council’s strategy development for future health and care services will be paused for 4-6 months from mid-April, to focus on the immediate health and care challenges. Public consultation and engagement events have been cancelled but people can still give their views online at www.fitformyfuture.org.uk until 12 April 2020.
- SCC major building projects (including Polden Bower Special School, Bishop Fox’s extension, new Somerton school, Willowdown expansion, iAero, the SEIC – Somerset Energy and Innovation Centre and County Hall A Block) – works continue, but may be subject to delay (see notes to editors)
Please note, all the above projects are being continually reviewed in light of changing Government instructions and subject to change.
This update has been issued on behalf of the All Somerset Local Authorities including all four district councils, the county council and health colleagues.
For further details, please contact the appropriate local agency’s communications teams.
Notes to editors
- The new service will be rolled-out in phases, with most of Mendip due to see it introduced at the end of June this year, to be followed by South Somerset in September and the rest of the county by spring 2022.
- It requires upgrades to SWP’s five depots so they can handle the extra recycling, and this has been delayed because of staffing and supply chain issues.
- Delivery of new recycling containers – essential to the roll-out of the new service – has been delayed. Face-to-face public engagement being planned for May and June is, at best, uncertain.
- A formal decision to pause the project is due to be taken on 9 April and the report that supports this can be found here http://democracy.somerset.gov.uk/mgIssueHistoryHome.aspx?IId=7086&PlanId=216
- SWP will develop a revised plan and timetable with a view to this being discussed by the Somerset Waste Board in June, subject to any continuing Coronavirus disruption.
Fit for My Future:
- After the completion of the consultation and engagement programmes on 12 April 2020, the Fit for My Future programme will be paused for 4-6 months.
- All public facing events and activities have been cancelled. People can provide feedback and comment via freepost, telephone, email or via our online questionnaires up until 12 April 2020. https://www.fitformyfuture.org.uk/
- Adverts promoting the mental health consultation and how people can have their say have been placed in the Wells Journal and several other local newspapers.
- The independent analysis of all the feedback from both programmes will go ahead as that can be undertaken by the independent company without impacting on our ability to focus on frontline care.
SCC Major building projects:
These projects are continuing but may be subject to delays as contractors adapt their working practices to meet current Government policy. This may change but current direction is that construction can continue as long as Public Health England guidance on social distancing is maintained.
Mark Ford, Head of Communications and Engagement
Somerset Waste Partnership
Blackbrook Park Avenue, Taunton, TA1 2PR
Telephone 01823 625710