04 May 2020Somerset Rivers Authority Summary of work 2020-21

04 May 2020Hold on to your clothes, or lose them to landfill

Somerset is being asked to hold on to its unwanted clothes and textiles to make sure they don’t end up in landfill.

Somerset Waste Partnership is committed to making sure everything it collects that can be recycled, is recycled and recycled close to home. Last year more than 92% of Somerset’s recycling stayed in the UK, cutting the same carbon as taking 25,000 cars off the road (https://www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/slider/beyond-the-kerb/)

But Coronavirus is making that impossible to guarantee, so kerbside textile recycling collections are being suspended until the situation improves.

COVID19 has seen both the national and international market for textiles grind to halt, and any materials collected now may well end up in landfill.

Closed charity shops mean more clothes at the kerbside for recycling. But with nowhere for them to be sold on, they have to be stored in depots where they will eventually become damp, mouldy and only fit for landfill.

Residents are encouraged to keep unwanted textiles – that are of good enough quality to be worn again - at home until they can be taken to charity shops or the SWP kerbside collections restart.

Despite depleted crews and much larger than normal levels of waste and recycling, staff have been working flat out to make sure recycling, rubbish, clinical waste and food waste collections have continued largely unaffected.

However, garden waste services have had to be suspended to keep those core services going, and recycling sites have also been closed in line with the Government advice around non-essential travel.

Plans are being finalised for the reintroduction of garden waste collections, and the reopening of recycling sites - depending on government advice. This week work also started on clearing the backlog of well over 1,000 requests for replacement or new recycling boxes and rubbish bins.

Mickey Green, Managing Director of SWP, said: “If people put items out for recycling, then they have every right to expect that they will be recycled. Right now, we just can’t promise that that will happen to textiles so we’re asking people to hold on until things improve. This isn’t about the money it’s about our commitment to the environment.”

Please note: many community textile collection banks are not being collected at the moment, though sometimes it’s not always obvious. If you cannot place your unwanted textiles in the collection bank, please do not leave it next to the banks as it won’t necessarily be picked up.

For more information about how oy reduce and reuse your waste, visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/coronavirus For the latest information about services and any disruption visit www.somersetwaste.gov.uk/coronavirus and follow @somersetwaste on Twitter and Facebook.

04 May 2020One day later collections after VE Day

The bank holiday for VE Day - marking the 75th anniversary of victory in Europe - on Friday 8 May will see no waste collections so those recycling and rubbish pick-ups will be on Saturday 9 May from 7am.

Collection crews are asking all residents to ensure their containers are out on time, with contents sorted, plastic bottles squashed, cardboard flattened, and - if safe - cans crushed.

To keep up to date with collections, recycling sites and the impact of COVID-19, sign up for the Somerset Waste Partnership e-newsletter at www.somersetwaste.gov.uk or follow @somersetwaste on Facebook or Twitter.

04 May 2020Friendly Calls provide a lifeline to isolated Older People

Age UK Somerset has adapted its services to meet the needs of local older people in these uncertain times. Aiming to reach those who are feeling particularly cut-off during self-isolation, the charity have set up a new service to alleviate the sense of loneliness experienced by many especially those shielding alone.

The Friendly Phone Calls service involves each client receiving a regular friendly phone call from a member of Age UK Somerset staff, to check in on them and help them to feel more connected. The regular calls lessen anxiety and offer clients an opportunity to talk about their concerns, allowing staff to signpost them to any other services which may be of further help to them.

This is a vital service for older people during the lockdown, many of whom do not speak to anyone else for days or even weeks.  One lady who is receiving a weekly call said of the service

“It's excellent, a great help. It's one of the things that will help us get through this, knowing there's someone who cares enough to call you and see how you are getting on. It's nice having someone to talk to and complain to!” 

As more older people register for the service, or are referred to the service through partner organisations such as Mind with whom Age UK Somerset works as part of the Somerset Mental Health Alliance, so to meet demand the local charity has now increased the size of the friendly team so anyone over 60 in Somerset or North Somerset can hear a friendly voice on the end of the phone to cheer up their day if they request the free service.  To register for these Friendly phone calls you call 01823 345610, email info@ageuksomerset.org.uk or visit the charity’s dedicated new website www.ageuksomersetcoronavirus.org.uk

04 May 2020Council Tax Bill scam

Sedgemoor District Council is warning its residents that there is a company phoning householders who claims to be from Sedgemoor District Council stating that they are due a refund on council tax of up to £5000.  They state that properties in the area have been revalued and have been given a lower banding.  This is not a call from Sedgemoor District Council and the information is false.

Council Tax bands are set by the Valuation Office Agency and can only be changed under certain conditions. Details can be found at www.gov.uk/council-tax-appeals.   If you think your band is wrong, contact the Valuation Office Agency - you will not be charged for the service.

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax bill and need help, speak with a member of the Council Tax Team on who will be able to offer help and advice on 0300 303 7801.

If you have given over personal details, we would advise you to call the Police straight away on 101 and report the matter as an identity theft scam. The Police will also direct you to the Action Fraud helpline on 0300 123 2040.

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