Key Messages this week
Government goes to Plan B in response to Omicron Variant. The Prime Minister has confirmed that England will move to Plan B following the rapid spread of the Omicron variant in the UK. Urgent work has been ongoing to understand the impact of the new variant with regards to vaccines, treatments and transmissibility. Early indications showed a large number of concerning
spike protein mutations as well as mutations in other parts of the viral genome.
From Friday 10 December, face coverings will become compulsory in most public indoor venues, such as cinemas, theatres and places of worship. There will be exemptions in venues where it is not practical to wear one, such as when you are eating, drinking or exercising. For that reason, face masks will not be required in hospitality settings.
From Monday 13 December, those who can, will be advised to work from home.
From Wednesday 15 December, and subject to parliamentary approval, the NHS Covid Pass on the NHS App will become mandatory for entry into nightclubs and settings where large crowds gather – including unseated indoor events with 500 or more attendees, unseated outdoor events with 4,000 or more attendees and any event with 10,000 or more attendees.
Reminder – Free parking to support local shopping
SWT is once again offering free parking to support festive trading in the run-up to Christmas.
Free all-day parking will be available in Council-owned car parks in Dulverton, Dunster, Minehead, Porlock, Watchet, Wellington and Williton on the Saturdays of 11 and 18 of December.
Free parking will also be available after 3pm on the same Saturdays in Council car parks in Taunton, except for Kilkenny car park, which is a long stay commuter car park.
Somerset Waste Partnership Services (SWP)
Be ready to reduce and recycle this festive season
Know how to wrap responsibly? Ready to recycle your Pringles tubes? Clued-up on Christmas collection days?
The answer to these and other Christmas conundrums can be found in a one- stop shop for festive waste management guidance available on the Somerset Waste Partnership website somersetwaste.gov.uk/festive.
The festive season generates a huge amount of waste, and residents are urged to think ahead and reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible.
Helpful hints for managing seasonal staples include:
Reuse if possible and choose only PAPER gift wrap which can be
recycled. Steer clear of glittery, foil and plastic wraps which should be put
in your rubbish bin.
Try the scrunch test – only paper wrap that stays scrunched can be
Remove sticky tape, bows and decorations.
Paper wrapping paper needs to be added to the other paper in the
correct recycling box. SWP cannot accept black rubbish sacks of paper.
If you take wrapping paper to a recycling site, put it in the special bins
Pringle and other crisp tubes
These are now accepted at 12 Somerset recycling sites (all but Castle
Cary, Cheddar, Dulverton and Somerton) in the skips for cartons/Tetra
The same goes for similar “paper containers with metal ends” like those
for hot chocolate or custard powder.
Tubs and tins of sweets and chocolates
Reuse for storage if possible.
Plastic tubs go in your Bright Blue Bag if you have one. Or they can be
taken to any recycling site and dropped off in the skip for plastic pots,
tubs, trays and bottles.
Metal tins can go in your Bright Blue Bag if you have one, in your black
recycling box if you have not. Or they can be taken to any recycling site
and put in the metal skip.
You can also find ideas for reducing the festive cardboard mountain by thinking
outside the box and tackling food waste by planning ahead.
Bank holidays also mean changes to collection days over the festive fortnight.
Check the changes on the festive webpage or use the My Collection Day
feature on the SWP homepage.
All 16 recycling sites are open on their usual winter hours over the Christmas
and New Year period, except all close on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and
New Year’s Day.
Recycle sites at Dulverton on Monday 27 December and Crewkerne on
Tuesday 28 December have one-off days open 9am-5pm to help with post-
Amid national LGV driver shortage acute effect in Somerset and COVID
impact, SWP are training their own drivers, recruiting hard – including £1,000
welcome bonus – and using no-LGV vans to collect card so main truck LGV
drivers keep collecting other materials for longer.
If you know anyone who may be interested in a career with SUEZ (Somerset
Waste Partnership’s collections contractor) as a driver, supervisor or loader,
please sign-post them to http://www.suez.co.uk/join-our-team-in-somerset.
For more information on kerbside services, recycling sites, and on COVID-19
and waste, visit: somersetwaste.gov.uk, sign up for the SWP e-newsletter or
follow @somersetwaste on Facebook or Twitter.