It’s important, right now, for us all to be as transparent and as communicative as possible. A big advantage of facing huge problems in these times is that we can be in touch, we can share issues, concerns and even solutions. LARAC has been working hard on behalf of its members and engaging with DEFRA, Devolved Governments, the wider industry and other local authority organisations since this crisis started.
With that in mind, we at LARAC would like to update our members on the recent work we have been doing with Defra on Covid-19. Up to now Defra has been very much in information gathering mode rather than issuing guidance. DEFRA is gathering information (which partly, we have gleaned from our members) to share with other bodies like Public Health England and Government departments in order to argue the waste and recycling case with them.
In terms of communications we have had so far with members.
- We put the guidance related to Covid-19 on the website and highlighted that in LOL – if and when it is updated, we will update our website.
- We sent three different emails out to members last week on Covid-19, one to highlight the discussion exchange so they could share experiences, one highlighting the key worker status and one with a request for information to DEFRA.
- We have set up 5 Covid-19 related threads on the discussion exchange for all members to share ideas, plans, problems and questions
As you will have read in the other items in this LARAC Online, LARAC is part of an industry group having weekly conference calls with Defra on a Thursday morning about the Covid-19 situation and waste related issues. The first call took place last week. There was also a local authority only call with Defra last week.
These were the key points from the two calls last week (w/c 16/03/2020):
- DEFRA trying to gather as much information as possible form the industry on issues we face and plans we have
- DEFRA are lobbying hard for waste operatives to be classed as key workers
- DEFRA talking to PHE about removing the advice to get clinical bags from local authorities
- Dept of Transport aware of and looking at the issues related to driver hours etc
These calls are scheduled in until at least the end of May. We will update you each week with the points discussed and any information that Defra needs to get out to you or get back from you.
Between us we can exchange ideas, concerns and issues, and these can be conveyed in our meetings with Defra, so please use the threads we have set up in the Discussion Exchange and highlighted elsewhere in LARAC OnLine to convey your thoughts to us.