Covid infection levels are rising sharply. Over the past seven days local case numbers have increased from 311.2 to 458.2 per 1,000. Many of us are also dealing with seasonal flu, chest infections and colds. So even though the number of Covid related deaths remains relatively low, the wider dislocation these illnesses are causing is having a significant impact across our community, particularly on the health and care services.
As part of the Winter Plan, the vaccination effort is being widened and intensified. Children aged 12-15 are being offered their first Covid vaccinations. Booster jabs are also being given to priority groups. The NHS will let us know when it's our turn to have a booster dose. It's important not to contact the NHS for one before then. Most people will be invited to book an appointment at a larger vaccination centre, pharmacy, or a GP surgery.
A cause for concern locally is that one in four of our 25 -39 years olds are still not vaccinated, despite being offered jabs some weeks ago. Getting fully vaccinated remains our best defence against serious illness. Also, although not compulsory, let’s continue to wear of a face covering in enclosed spaces, frequently wash our hands and take regular tests.
A further important step in our Recovery Plan was taken this week, with Biffa Waste Services Ltd being awarded the multi-million-pound contract to deliver the refuse and recycling services across south Warwickshire, through to 2030. Beginning in August next year, the new 123+ collection system, with separate weekly food waste collections, fortnightly co-mingled dry recycling collections and three-weekly residual waste collections, aims to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. Over the next few months, information on the changed service will be provided, including details of the new food caddies and recycling bins.
We’re delighted that the measures taken to provide a site for endangered grass nesting birds to breed on St Mary’s Lands in Warwick have had a beneficial impact. Ecologists report that for the first time in many years, the number of nesting Skylarks has increased. Although still well short of the 70 breeding pairs seen in the 1960’s, it’s rewarding to see that recent declines have been reversed and that the population is now slowly growing.
This week, Bishop’s Tachbrook Neighbourhood Development Plan Referendum was held with 95.3% of the local residents who voted supporting the proposals. The Plan encompasses both new and old areas of the parish, with the new Country Park at the heart of this fast-growing community.
Have you had your say? We’ve got two key consultations underway and look forward to hearing your views on:
- The management arrangements of our tennis facilities. We’ve been working with the Lawn Tennis Association to understand options to improve the tennis facilities and activities on offer to local sports groups and clubs across our 21 public tennis courts. The aim is to enable more people to play tennis and to make the courts more financially sustainable, ensuring they will remain open into the future. Information on the consultation is available, here. This consultation closes on Sunday 24 October.
- The proposals to merge with Stratford on Avon Council. Visit www.southwarwickshire.org.uk to share your thoughts on what our local government might look like in the future. We’re seeking views from all parts of our community, so please also encourage your friends, family and colleagues to contribute. This consultation also closes on Sunday 24 October.
And finally, our High Sheriff, The Lady Willoughby de Broke is getting on her bike and undertaking a gruelling five-day cycle ride to support Warwickshire’s local businesses, independent high street shops, farm shops, pubs and cafes. The ride will also raise money for the High Sheriff Fund for grants to small local voluntary organisations across the county. We can sponsor Min through her Just Giving page. We’re all welcome to get on our bikes too and join our High Sheriff out on the road this week-end.
Keep smiling and stay safe.
Andrew Day, Leader Chris Elliott, Chief Executive