Government

Coronavirus National Restrictions

5 November to 2 December

National restrictions apply to England

Meeting IndoorsMeeting OutdoorsWeddings and Funerals
You cannot meet anybody socially Indoors unless they are in your household or support bubbleYou can meet with 1 person from another household in outdoor public spaces, following social distancing.
Children under 5 and anyone dependent on continuous care do not count towards the 2 person limit.
Weddings and Civil partnership ceremonies can only take place where one of those getting married is seriously ill and not expected to recover.
Funerals can take place with up to 30 people in attendance.
Working from homeEssential ShopsNon-essential Retail
You must work from home if you can. If you cannot work from home you should continue to go to work (unless you are clinically extremely vulnerable).Open. Essential shops should follow COVID secure guidelines.Closed. Can only open for click-and-collect and delivery services.
ExerciseLeisure and GymsHospitality
You can exercise outside on your own or with your household; your support bubble or one person from another househoid.Closed. Except for allotments and outdoor playgrounds.Closed except for takeaway, click-and-collect, drive through and delivery sevvices. Takeaway not permitted after 22:00.
EducationHealthcare ServicesResidential Care
Early years, schools and FE colleges open. Universities must reflect wider restrictions.You can leave home for any medical reason.Care homes are encouraged to provide safe, COVID-secure visiting opportunities. See the guidance for detaiis on how to keep visits safe.
TravelPublic TransportOvernight Stays
You must not travel in the UK or overseas other than for permitted reasons, including work, eduration, medical reasons, caring responsibilities or for essential retail.You may still use public transport, but should only travel for permitted reasons and should look to reduce the number of journeys you make, avoid travelling at peak times and walk or cycle where you can.Overnight stays and holidays away from primary residences are not allowed, except for work and other exempt purposes.
Entertainment and tourismVulnerable PeopleWorship
Entertainment venues are closed. Public gardens at visitor attractions are open.If you are 60+ or clinically vulnerable be especially carefui to follow the rules and minimise contacts with others. If you are ciinicaliy extremely vulnerable you are advised to stay at home as much as possible, except to go outdoors for exercise or to attend essenliai health appoinlments.Closed. Except for:
funerals.
broadcasting acts of worship, and
individual prayer.
ChildcareYouth Clubs and Activities
Registered childcare and childcare activities open to enable parents to work, or for respite care. Parents can form a childcare bubble with another household For informal childcare, where the child is 13 or under.Some youth services are able to continue, such as 1-1 youth work and support groups, but most youth clubs and groups will need to cease for this period.

For more information and detailed guidance visit gov.uk/voronavirus

UK government

Consultation on planning system reforms

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is consulting on two sets of reforms to the planning system.

The first, Changes to the current planning system, includes:

  • changes to the standard method for assessing local housing need
  • securing of First Homes through developer contributions
  • temporarily lifting the small sites threshold
  • extending the current Permission in Principle to major development

This is likely to increase the assessed need for housing in Ashford.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/changes-to-the-current-planning-system

The second, Planning for the future, relates to the wider changes that have been announced by the government. The Government press release states that the proposals include:

  • plans to overhaul outdated planning system and reform the way the country builds
  • Plans to streamline process, cut red tape and harness technology to deliver homes faster
  • Valued green spaces protected for future generations, with more building on brownfield land
  • Building beautiful homes with communities at heart of new planning system
  • 30% discount through First Homes, with an emphasis on key workers

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/launch-of-planning-for-the-future-consultation-to-reform-the-planning-system

Wearing a face covering does not protect you.

The UK Government is now recommending the use of face coverings in enclosed spaces where social distances might not be maintained.

If you can, wear a face covering in an enclosed space where social distancing isn’t possible and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet. This is most relevant for short periods indoors in crowded areas, for example, on public transport or in some shops.

Evidence suggests that wearing a face covering does not protect you.

However, if you are infected but have not yet developed symptoms, it may provide some protection for others you come into close contact with.

Face coverings do not replace social distancing.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 (cough and/or high temperature), you and your household must isolate at home: wearing a face covering does not change this.

A face covering is not the same as the surgical masks or respirators used by healthcare and other workers as part of personal protective equipment. These should continue to be reserved for those who need them to protect against risks in their workplace, such as health and care workers, and those in industrial settings, like those exposed to dust hazards.

Face coverings should not be used by children under the age of 2 or those who may find it difficult to manage them correctly. For example, primary age children unassisted, or those with respiratory conditions.

Wearing a face covering

It is important to use face coverings properly and wash your hands before putting them on and taking them off.

A cloth face covering should cover your mouth and nose while allowing you to breathe comfortably. It can be as simple as a scarf or bandana that ties behind the head.

Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off and after use. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth at all times and store used face coverings in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash them.

Do not touch the front of the face covering, or the part of the face covering that has been in contact with your mouth and nose. Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched.

You should wash a face covering regularly. It can go in with other laundry, using your normal detergent.

When wearing a face covering, take care to tuck away any loose ends.

Home made face coverings

You can make face-coverings at home. The key thing is it should cover the mouth and nose.

Instructions for making face coverings:

Cabinet Office, 11 May 2020
www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home
Public Health England, 11 May 2020
www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering/how-to-wear-and-make-a-cloth-face-covering

Coronovirus latest advice

The Prime Minister, supported by the Chief Scientific Advisor and the Chief Medical Officer announced new measures to limit the impact of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) this afternoon.

No new restrictions on events were announced. Schools are expected to continue to open as normal, unless advised otherwise by local public health officers.

Stay at home guidance for coronavirus symptoms

The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of:

  • new continuous cough and/or
  • high temperature

For most people, coronavirus (COVID-19) will be a mild infection

  • if you have symptoms of coronavirus infection (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. (See Ending Isolation section below for more information)
  • this action will help protect others in your community whilst you are infectious.
  • plan ahead and ask others for help to ensure that you can successfully stay at home.
  • ask your employer, friends and family to help you to get the things you need to stay at home.
  • stay at least 2 metres (about 3 steps) away from other people in your home whenever possible.
  • sleep alone, if that is possible.
  • wash your hands regularly for 20 seconds, each time using soap and water.
  • stay away from vulnerable individuals such as the elderly and those with underlying health conditions as much as possible.
  • you do not need to call NHS111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111.

Those self-isolating with mild symptoms will not be tested.

Continue to good hygiene practice

The Chief Medical Officer emphasised that the most important thing for individuals to continue to use good hygiene practice previously recommended.

Do
  • wash your hands with soap and water often – do this for at least 20 seconds
  • always wash your hands when you get home or into work
  • use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze
  • put used tissues in the bin immediately and wash your hands afterwards
  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
Don’t
  • do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

NHS
https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

Parliamentary Election Results

On Thursday 12 December, a vote was held for the parliamentary constituency of Ashford in the 2019 General Election. The candidates and the numbers of votes cast were:

Name of candidatePartyVotes
DE SANVIL, Susannah LouiseIndependent862
FARRELL, DaraLabour Party13,241
GEE-TURNER, Adrian JohnLiberal Democrats6,048
GREEN, Damian HowardThe Conservative Party37,270 Elected
ROSSI, MandyThe Green Party2,638


Electorate: 89,553

Turnout: 67.4%

Polling day

Make sure you vote on Thursday 12th December.

Your vote counts.

Your polling card gives your polling station but our map shows the polling stations for Beaver, Norman and Victoria Wards. Click on your Polling District to show the polling station.

You don’t need your polling card t vote but not having received one may indicate that you are not registered to vote.

Election Candidates

The names of candidates for the Ashford Constituency in the parliamentary election to be held on 12 December 2019 were announced yesterday.

Make sure you are registered to vote.

Name of candidateDescription (if any)
DE SANVIL, Susannah LouiseIndependent
FARRELL, DaraLabour Party
GEE-TURNER, Adrian JohnLiberal Democrats – To stop Brexit
GREEN, Damian HowardThe Conservative Party Candidate
ROSSI, MandyThe Green Party

https://www.ashford.gov.uk/councillors-meetings-and-elections/elections-and-electoral-registration/elections/statement-of-persons-nominated-and-notice-of-poll-parliamentary-election-2019/

Register to vote by 26 November

The deadline to register to vote in the UK Parliamentary general election on 12 December is 26 November.

How to register to vote

Registering to vote online is the easiest and quickest way.

It only takes five minutes, and all you need is your national insurance number.

If you’re unable to register online, you can apply by post. Download a form .

You only need to register once, unless you change your address, name or nationality.

If you do change address, name or nationality, you need to register to vote again.

Who can register to vote

To register to vote, you must be:

You have to be a 16 to register to vote.

You can’t vote until you’re 18 years old.

Eligible countries

Qualifying Commonwealth citizens

European Union countries

Other situations

You can also register to vote if:

Check if you’re already registered to vote

If you are registered to vote, you will be on the electoral register. We don’t hold the electoral register, so can’t tell you if you are registered to vote.

You need to contact the electoral services team at your local council to check if you’re on the register.

If you need help registering, or want to return your postal or proxy form, contact the electoral services team at:

Ashford Borough Council
Electoral Registration Officer
Civic Centre
Tannery Lane
Ashford
TN23 1PL

Consultation: Organs excluded from the opt-out organ donation

Opt-out organ donation: organs and tissues excluded from the new system

Department of Health and Social Care

Opened: 29 April 2019
Closes: 22 July 2019

This consultation is to ask you if the government is excluding the right organs and tissues from opt-out organ donation. We would like you to answer five questions about what you think should happen.

The government recently passed a law to change the rules for organ donation in England from 2020. The law introduced a system commonly called “opt-out” or “deemed consent”.

From 2020, everyone in England over the age of 18 will be considered to be in favour of donating their organs and tissue after death unless they:

  • have said they do not want to donate (opted out)
  • have appointed someone to decide for them after death
  • are in an excluded group

When the law was passing through Parliament, the government agreed that the law would only apply to routine transplants, and not novel or rare transplants.

The government proposes that novel or rare transplants will still require express consent. This means you or someone representing you must explicitly give permission for your organs or tissues to be donated for novel or rare transplants. Such transplants also cover what is called Advanced Therapy Medicinal Products (ATMP). This is when tissues, cells and genes are manipulated in a laboratory for treatment of a disease or injury. Some of the tissues and cells come from deceased donors.

This consultation is to ask you if the government is excluding the right organs and tissues. They would like you to answer five questions about what you think should happen.

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/opt-out-organ-donation-organs-and-tissues-excluded-from-the-new-system

Op Brock in place next week

From next week, Operation Brock will be available as a tool for managing disruption in Kent. Operation Brock queues lorries bound for mainland Europe on the coastbound M20 and uses a contraflow on the London-bound carriageway to enable other traffic to travel in both directions.

Under the new arrangements, in addition to the M20 contraflow lorries can be routed to Manston Airfield and, if needed, the M26 motorway can be closed and used to queue HGVs too.

The M20 contraflow is planned to be in place by 6am on Monday 25 March, and there will be roadworks on the M20 and M26 over the weekend and into next week as the final preparations and adjustments are made.

Drivers are advised that sections of the M20 will be closed this weekend for the final work to take place, signed diversions will be in place. From Monday drivers will need to follow the different layout on the M20 from just north of Junction 8 (for Leeds) to Junction 9 (Ashford).

The M20 will be closed overnight (8pm – 6am) each night until Monday morning between Junction 7 (for Maidstone) and Junction 9. Overnight closures may also be required on this section next week if there is remaining work to complete. For the preparations for the M26, there will also be overnight closures on the weekends of the 23 and 30 March.

What is Operation Brock?

Operation Brock is a set of measures to keep the M20 open in both directions between junctions 8 and 9 in the event of disruption to services across the English Channel, by using different holding areas.

The queuing system only applies to lorries heading to mainland Europe from Kent. All other drivers should check conditions before setting out and, if they’re crossing the channel, check with their service operator for updates.

Phase 1 – In the event of excessive disruption to services across the English Channel, improved holding capacity in the Port of Dover and Eurotunnel, as well as on the A20 approach to the port (Dover TAP), would be used.
Phase 2 – If phase 1 capacity is reached, we will start queuing Europe bound lorries that are 7.5 tonnes and over on the coast bound section of the M20 between junction 8 and 9 with cars and other vehicles using a contraflow on the London-bound carriageway.
Phase 3 – If phase 2 becomes full, lorries heading for Port of Dover will be directed to Manston Airfield, while the M20 is used to hold traffic for Eurotunnel. Traffic lights on the A256 after Manston Airfield will help to manage traffic arriving at the port.
Phase 4 – If the M20 holding area and Manston becomes full, the M26 could be used to hold additional lorries heading for Eurotunnel.

Highways England: Operation Brock: ready for action 22 March 2019
www.gov.uk/government/news/operation-brock-ready-for-action
Highways England: Operation Brock
highwaysengland.co.uk/OperationBrock/

For information on driving when operation Brock is in place refer to the Highways England page about Operation Brock highwaysengland.co.uk/OperationBrock/

Other ‘Brexit’ preparedness information: