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The latest information and guidance to support you and our communities

Brighter prospects ahead if we're careful

Every day at home is making a difference.  Image of a lady looking out of her window.

The UK alert level was yesterday reduced from level five to level four. Restrictions are to be eased from 8 March. Children will be returning to school and the government has announced a number of ‘no earlier than” dates which suggest that if all goes to plan, legal lockdown restrictions will be lifted by 21 June.

News today that once all the priority groups have been vaccinated, others will receive the jab by age group means that those in younger age groups can look forward to being vaccinated in the not too distant future.

This week’s figures showing that in Teignbridge almost 50,000 people in the four most vulnerable age groups have been vaccinated underlines the progress being made. In our district alone, 9,572 aged over 80, 7,305 aged 75 to 79, 9,454 aged 70-74 and 21,306 people under 70 have been vaccinated.

Every covered face is making a difference.  Man with a face covering

With the sun forecast to shine this weekend, it's not just the weather that's getting brighter.  There's a sense of optimism about being able to meet loved ones, to go to cultural, arts and sporting events, to enjoy a meal out or a drink in a local pub - or even plan a holiday.

But the ‘no earlier than’ dates also carry a warning.  With infection rates comparatively low in Teignbridge and Devon generally, we mustn't be tempted to bend the rules this weekend.

The alert level reduction means that the threat of the NHS and other health services being overwhelmed has receded but transmission rates, hospital pressures and deaths remain high.

So if we want the 'no earlier than' dates to become reality and not be pushed back, we need to continue to play our part in controlling the spread until everyone is vaccinated. That means staying at home as much as possible, wearing a face covering,  maintaining social distance when out and washing hands frequently.

Let's not throw away the sacrifices that have been made over past months and we can all look forward to happier, safer times.

Latest business grant scheme goes live

The latest round of business support scheme funding has now gone live on our website.  Funding for the ARG scheme for the third national lockdown can be applied for, from new businesses and those who have applied for previous schemes, using an access code.

Just under 400 access code letters have already been sent to returning applicants allowing them to apply, with the full application form available for new applicants.

Unfortunately because of the surge in demand when the scheme went live last night, applicants could not use the access codes they had been sent to complete their application. 

The problems affected Teignbridge, Exeter and East Devon councils but the issues have now been resolved.  We apologise for the inconvenience this caused - and busineses can now apply again using their access code.

Further information on access codes,  eligibility criteria, or any other element of the scheme can be found on our FAQs.

If you're not sure what grants can support your business, please visit our grant checker, which has been used over 1,000 times since its launch earlier this month.

Check if you are eligible for Covid-19 business grant support.

Steve Brown, Devon’s Director of Public Health (Designate)

Vaccination roll out does not mean you can ignore testing

“Testing for coronavirus is still a vital and very real necessity right now, especially if you’re in contact with people through the work you do,” warns Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon.

"The rules that we in Devon have done so well to follow since last year, and which have kept our case numbers to one of lowest in the country and have undoubtedly saved lives, are I fear becoming less of a priority in some people’s minds.

But testing and self-isolating when a person develops symptoms of coronavirus is as important today as it always has been. And it will continue to be so for some time.

“We must not let the vaccine, and the hope it brings, persuade us that these other measures are no longer necessary. They are."

Had your Covid- 19 vaccine - stay at home

Want to know more about the covid-19 vaccines?

As increasing numbers of people are vaccinated, Public Health England has published a blog which looks at what we know about the new COVID-19 variants and another which tries to answer the most common questions about the vaccines. 

Housing strategy cover

Is our housing strategy up to the mark?

We'd like your views on our new draft housing strategy, which sets out our plans to tackle local housing issues.

We want to make sure that we have the right priorities, given our local influence and resources and to hear your views and ideas to make sure we have considered all of the topics that are important to you.

Our priorities in the strategy are to build affordable homes, improve existing homes, prevent homelessness and address rough sleeping.  

The draft strategy also focuses on delivering services, support and advice from the customer’s point of view, and also seeks to tackle climate change through reducing our carbon footprint and promoting energy efficiency.

People completing the survey are asked to identify which of these priorities are the most important to them, and to suggest other areas of work that might be addressed through the strategy.

The survey, which is open now, takes around two minutes to complete, and closes on 24 March.

Census 2021 logo

Census 2021 is now live

Sunday 21 March is Census Day, but households can complete their questionnaire as soon as they receive their access code

Census invitation packs containing your household access code for the electronic questionnaire will start arriving from Monday.  If you don’t get one in the next couple of weeks, please get in touch with the census contact centre (0800 141 2021). You can also request a paper questionnaire if you’d prefer to complete your census that way. 

Local census support centres will offer help for people not confident online, who don’t have a computer or need help completing on paper.

The census is a survey that happens every 10 years and  provides a picture of all the people and households in England and Wales and is used to plan future services so it is important that everyone completes it.

Food waste action week website

"Wasting Food Feeds Climate Change”.

The UK’s first ever Food Waste Action Week starts on Monday, focusing on how we can stop food going to waste and halt its contribution to climate change.

Each year, UK households throw away 4.5 million tonnes of food that could have been eaten and Food Waste Action Week is challenging everyone to try to reduce the food they waste at home to as close to zero as possible by better storage and portion planning and practical steps such as setting the fridge temperature correctly.

Cllr Alistair Dewhirst

WRAP says that if food waste was a country, it would be third only to the USA and China in terms of its Green House Gas emissions!

We are proud to be partnering with WRAP, the UK’s leading sustainability charity, as it begins its inaugural Food Waste Action Week and will be sharing activities on social media to help everyone to do their bit to reduce their food waste.

We're asking people to share their best tips for avoiding food waste and will be running a competition with some food waste-saving prizes.

Teignbridge District Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2019 and reducing food waste is a part of this commitment because of the impact food waste has on our carbon footprint.

Cllr Alistair Dewhirst, Executive Member for Recycling, Household Waste & Environmental Health said: “This is a timely reminder of how we can all contribute to reducing the impact of climate change as well as saving money by avoiding waste. I would urge everyone to look afresh at what they can do to avoid waste and to support WRAP’s national initiative locally.”

Two examples of scams - NHS vaccinations and Council Tax

Watch out for these scams

An increasing number of scams are targeting people across the country.  The Citizens Advice Bureau are warning people to keep an eye out for covid-related scams, such as the ones shown  - the first a council tax scam and the second an NHS vaccination scam.

Scams to look out for include:

  • advertising face masks or medical equipment at high prices
  • emails or texts pretending to be from the government
  • emails offering life insurance against coronavirus
  • people knocking at your door and asking for money for charity

Scams can be reported through the Action Fraud website.

Two examples of scams - NHS vaccinations and Council Tax

Network Rail submit planning application

An artist's impression of the proposed rockfall shelter extension at Parsons Tunnel

Plans to extend an existing rockfall shelter over the railway line between Dawlish and Holcombe north of Parsons Tunnel have been submitted.

The application can be viewed on the planning portal and is a relatively small scale project, likely to be visible from the sea only.

The 209m long extension of the rockfall shelter will help protect trains against falling rocks. Parsons Tunnel was previously extended a hundred years ago and Network Rail proposes to extend that further by providing a rockfall shelter in modern materials, but with open sides rather than the previous brick built enclosed tunnel extension.  

If approved, the proposals, which are subject to funding confirmation from government, will see construction starting in August with the work expected to take around a year to complete.

Annual Fairtrade Fortnight underway

Fairtrade Fortnight, which began on Monday and runs until 7 March, has moved online this year with a free ‘Choose the World You Want Festival’ which aims to engage, inform and educate people around the urgent message of Fairtrade and climate change.

Choose the world you want festival - Fair trade Fortnight website banner

Fairtrade Fortnight highlights how the climate crisis is affecting the future of food and those who produce it.  The Festival brings together all those involved and features panel discussions, performances, workshops and collaborations between the Fairtrade Foundation and retailers, chefs and high-profile names in the world of food and sustainability. Programme examples include how to eat ethically in the climate crisis, know how to grow sustainably or the opportunity to take part in a fun quiz.

Fairtrade Fortnight 2021 marks the start of a new climate campaign asking the British public to get behind Fairtrade so that farmers overseas can benefit from fairer prices, fairer trading practices and the resources needed for tackling the climate emergency in low-income countries such as Kenya and Honduras.

All schools, colleges and further education settings will open to all pupils From 8 March.  Group of students

Pupils returning to school

The government has published a blog entitled All students to return to school and college from 8 March and what you need to know.

Mild Covid-19 symptoms for you could make others seriously ill.  Don't guess get a test.  Two people in a shop with masks

from 8 March, people in England will see restrictions start to lift and our four-step Roadmap will offer a route back to a more normal life

Latest government advice

Click on images below for more information.

NHS will contact you
Stay Home, Protect the NHS, Save lives
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