Solihull Council’s position at this point in time is that all our environment contract services, including our Wildlife Ways programme, are classed as essential front line work and these services must continue until further notice.
Our contractors have been very firmly instructed to maintain the government’s recommended social distance guidelines and also have their own policies in place which we expect to be followed and enforced.
In order to maintain the minimum 2 metre safe distance, the amount of operatives in the gangs will be reduced, additional vehicles have been procured so that there is only one person in a vehicle at any one time and the construction processes have been revised to involve a maximum of two people where possible.
All contractors brief their operatives on Health and Safety for Covid-19, addressing best practice and also supplying personal protective equipment that can be deployed above and beyond what is already issued (face masks, safety glasses and gloves) if required, but the construction processes have been revised to mitigate such a requirement.
Whilst there may be concerns regarding Wildlife Ways as an essential front line service it is important not to undervalue the impact these services have in our communities. It is Solihull Council’s view that these services should continue, because they are important to our communities and our local environment during these difficult times.
They also provide an added level of highly visual authority in and around our communities – again giving a perception of safety – and they provide further eyes and ears on the ground which is important when we are also mindful and need to be extra watchful of our most vulnerable community members.
These are unprecedented times and as the situation will no doubt continue to change daily we will ensure further messaging goes out to contractors’ staff with regards to social distancing and the need to adhere to these rules.