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e-connect 16 December

Date published: 2021-12-21

Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council

Let's look after each other. Covid hasn't gone away.

Coronavirus update 16 December 2021

A message from Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council

It’s been a particularly busy week for all of us, with the announcements about the urgent ramping up of the booster drive, and the Plan B measures that widened the requirements: to wear face coverings, to work from home where possible, and for Covid passports for nightclubs and large venues.

As you know this is happening in response to the Omicron variant. We have had confirmation of cases of this variant in our area. Our message remains a simple one ‒ please follow the rules and take up all the vaccines you are offered. My particular thanks go also to all the staff and volunteers who are working hard on the vaccination drive.

Also this week, on Tuesday evening, I chaired a really useful and well-attended online session about our budget proposals. My thanks to all those who took part. We face some big budget challenges, but we have put forward plans to balance the books while investing our priorities, including the climate emergency and neighbourhood services as well as expanding the council’s recycling teams to cope with the significant increase in kerbside and green waste being recycled by residents. You can find out about Christmas and New Year waste and recycling collections here.

We have put the session online and are currently asking for views. We’ll then draw up detailed proposals that will go to our Policy and Development Panels in January, before being presented to cabinet and council in February.

Last night we also had our last cabinet meeting of the year, with a virtual meeting followed by an informal session earlier today. We discussed two of the key issues in our area over the past year, namely Cleveland Bridge and the Clean Air Zone. The data shows an average 14% decrease in nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels within the CAZ in the last quarter compared with the same period in 2019, with similar levels shown in urban areas outside the zone’s boundary. However, there are still breaches to national limits in a number of areas, including at sites around Cleveland Place.

To tackle this, the cabinet approved the recommendation to explore a variation to the Bath Clean Air Zone Charging Order 2021 so that all Euro VI diesel powered HGVs exceeding 12 tonnes become chargeable under the scheme. You can watch the meeting on our Youtube channel here.

Also at the meeting our cabinet member for Adults and Council Housing, Councillor Alison Born, made a statement about the sale of Virgin Care, which many people have raised concerns about. You can view the statement here. I need to stress our primary motivation will always be to provide safe, high quality services that meet the needs of our residents and that public money will be safeguarded for the provision of front-line services.

Finally, as I highlighted last week, our proposals for anti-terrorism security measures, which will restrict vehicles in some Bath city centre streets to protect the public, will come into effect from January 1 and you can find details of the access arrangements for Blue Badge holders and other permitted vehicles on our website.

Have a good weekend.


A message from Becky Reynolds, Director of Public Health at Bath & North East Somerset Council

On Wednesday this week, the UK recorded 78,610 Covid-19 cases – the highest daily number since the beginning of the pandemic. The Omicron variant is moving at such a rapid pace with over 20% of new cases of coronavirus in England now assumed to be Omicron.

We’ve all spent nearly two years living with this virus and we know how it passes between people. We know what we can do to greatly lower the chances of transmitting it – reduce our close contact with others, wear a face covering, self-isolate and get a test if symptomatic, work from home if we can, keep spaces well ventilated, get vaccinated and have the booster jab.

Yesterday, Professor Chris Whitty spoke about the need for people to prioritise celebrations and events that matter most to them over Christmas and the New Year. Sometimes we need to see friends, family or work colleagues for our mental health and wellbeing, so if you’re going to social events, then do take a lateral flow test before leaving your home. Also, please take one just before you go to visit family and friends who may be more vulnerable to getting seriously ill if they got Covid-19.

We know how hugely important Covid-19 vaccination is in protecting ourselves and each other. The booster vaccination programme is being dramatically expanded and 39% of people in B&NES have already had their third dose.

You are eligible for a booster dose three months after your second dose if:
  • you are aged 18 and over
  • you are aged 16 and over with a health condition that puts you at high risk from Covid-19, or are a main carer for someone at high risk from Covid-19
From Monday 20 December, children aged 12-15 can book in for a second jab.

If you haven’t had your first or second vaccination yet, it’s never too late. You can book anytime. You can do this by calling 119 or by visiting the National Booking Service.

If you want to volunteer with the vaccination programme, go to the Royal Voluntary Service.

If you’re booking online and find yourself in a long queue, or if there’s no availability in the near future, please do be patient and keep on trying – additional appointments are added regularly.

There have also been important changes to national guidance on what people need to do if they are identified as contacts of someone with Covid-19:
  • Fully vaccinated adults who are identified as a contact of someone with Covid-19 – whether Omicron or not – do not need to self-isolate and should take an NHS rapid lateral flow test every day for 7 days
  • Close contacts aged 5 years to 18 years and 6 months do not need to self-isolate and should also take an NHS rapid lateral flow test every day for 7 days
  • Those who test positive or develop symptoms will need to self-isolate and take a confirmatory PCR test
  • Unvaccinated adults identified as contacts must continue to self-isolate for 10 days

NHS, social care and education settings will continue to have their own requirements.

We are in uncertain times, aren’t we? Showing kindness, compassion and generosity to others and ourselves has been a hallmark of this pandemic, and we need to continue with that in abundance over the coming weeks.

Building up personal resilience is also so important and there are many things we can do individually and collectively to protect and strengthen this. These websites have some excellent resources – helplines, downloadable resources, top tips, groups etc:

These are the latest Covid case figures for B&NES – please play your part to drive the number down.

Covid-19 update


What is the latest guidance?

Face coverings are required in most indoor settings and office workers are encouraged to work from home. Changes have also come into place requiring certain venues and events to check that all visitors aged 18 years or over are fully vaccinated, have proof of a negative test in the last 48 hours, or have an exemption.

For all the latest guidance, visit the government website.

Who can get a booster?

From this week, all adults aged 18 and over are now able to book an appointment for their Covid-19 booster, as the NHS vaccine programme extends once again.

The national booking system will open to everyone aged 18 to 39 so that they can arrange a booster three months on from their second dose. Those eligible can also call 119 to book their booster.

As more people become eligible, more vaccination appointments are being made available across Bath and North East Somerset. For more information, please go to the B&NES, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG website here.

Information about the local rollout of the coronavirus vaccine, including details of vaccination centres and an extensive list of frequently asked questions, is available here.

Please remember to be kind and patient when getting your jabs this winter. Staff and volunteers are working as hard as they can to keep you and others safe.

Transport to Bath Racecourse

A new temporary bus service will operate over the Christmas and New Year period. The service will run every hour from Bath Abbey bus stop to Bath Racecourse from 09.00, with the last bus leaving the Racecourse at 18.20. This service will run on the following days:

•    Monday 20–Thurs 23 December
•    Wednesday 29 and Thursday 30 December
•    Tuesday 4–Friday 7 January

The shuttle service from the Park and Ride at Lansdown is still running Monday–Friday, however there will be no service on Monday 27 Dec. View the full timetable here.

What if I've tested positive but not had my vaccine?

If you’re 18+ or under 18 and at higher risk from Covid-19 and have tested positive for Covid-19, you need to wait 4 weeks (28 days) before getting any Covid-19 vaccination.

If you’re under 18, not at higher risk from Covid-19 and have tested positive for Covid-19, you need to wait 12 weeks before getting a 1st or 2nd dose.

The 4 or 12 week period starts from the date you had symptoms, or the date of the positive test if you did not have any symptoms. Please cancel and rebook your appointment for a later date if needed.

Test and collect vanWhere can I pick up a lateral flow test kit?

Our lateral flow test and collect van is still touring the district, offering test kits and help with testing. Locations are published on our website. Staff there will also answer questions about Covid-19 vaccinations.

You can also pick up test kits from our libraries in: Timsbury, Radstock, Bishop Sutton, Weston, Midsomer Norton, Keynsham, Bath One Stop Shop, as well as from most of the pharmacies in Bath and North East Somerset.

You can also order lateral flow tests online for home delivery.

You should test regularly, particularly on days when you're in a busy place, or meeting vulnerable people, because you are more likely to catch or spread Covid-19.

Latest council news


Cleveland Bridge renovation update

Engineering work on Bath’s historic Cleveland Bridge will continue in the run up to Christmas and resume on January 4.

Statement on sale of Virgin Care to Twenty20 Capital 

A statement from Councillor Alison Born, cabinet member for Adults and Council Housing, about the sale of Virgin Care to the Private Capital company Twenty20 Capital.

Have your say on council’s spending plans

You are invited to have your say on the council’s spending plans for the coming year following a special online Budget Forum held on 14 December.

City Centre Security arrangements announced

Access arrangements for Blue Badge holders, and other permitted drivers, in some Bath city centre streets, which will close as part of proportionate anti-terrorism security measures to protect the public, have been announced.

Christmas & New Year recycling & rubbish collections

Recycling and rubbish collection dates across Bath and North East Somerset will be revised over Christmas and New Year.

Get boosted ‒ Omicron confirmed in B&NES

Residents are being urged to get vaccinated, get boosted and keep protecting themselves and others as cases of the new Omicron Covid variant have been confirmed in Bath and North East Somerset.

Late night Christmas shopping in Bath & Keynsham

There's still time to go late-night Thursday evening Christmas shopping in Bath. Pick up a few presents and enjoy the Christmas lights. The council is also offering free parking on Saturdays in council-owned car parks during December. The offer gives people a better opportunity to ‘shop local’ in Keynsham High Street this Christmas.

Last chance to have your say on improving travel

Do you live near or travel along the A37 or A367? How do you travel? Have you experienced congestion, poor air quality or other issues on these routes? Do you have ideas on what improvements should be prioritised to help people move around more easily and sustainably?

The West of England Combined Authority has launched a joint survey with the council to help it make choices and put together proposals to improve transport on the two key routes between Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Westfield and Bath/Bristol.

The aim is to encourage people to be less dependent on their cars by improving bus services and walking and cycling infrastructure. Feedback from residents will be key to developing plans for the A37/A367.

To take part in the survey and find out more visit here.

The A37/A367 Corridor Survey closes on the 19 December 2021. To request a paper copy or alternate format please call 07436 601889 or email.

Council meeting calendar

Do you want to know about decisions being taken by the council and have your say? Please follow this link to the council’s calendar of meetings.

Latest Government guidance


NHS Test and Trace in the workplace

What to do if you or someone you employ is required to self-isolate. This includes being contacted by NHS Test and Trace, self-isolation rules and financial support.

Guidance for funerals and commemorative events during the coronavirus pandemic)

Guidance for arranging or attending a funeral or commemorative event during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Guidance for contacts of people with confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) infection who do not live with the person

If you live in the same household as a person who has symptoms of coronavirus (COVID- 19) or who has received a positive test result, follow the Stay at home: guidance for households with possible or confirmed COVID-19.

If you have been in close contact with, but do not live with, a person who has tested positive for COVID-19, follow this guidance.

Carrying out mandatory COVID-19 status checks at your venue or event

Guidance for organisations setting out which venues and events must use the NHS COVID Pass, or equivalent proof of vaccination or testing, as a condition of entry, and how to operate the scheme.

Enabling safe and effective volunteering during coronavirus

This guidance aims to help organisations and groups understand how to safely and effectively involve volunteers during the pandemic.

Follow us online

You can follow us on twitterfacebook and instagram; subscribe to us on YouTube, read the latest releases on our newsroom and if you sign up on nextdoor we are there too.

For updates on our services visit our website.

Employment and Skills Pod

Are you returning to work after a short or long break? Perhaps you are already in work and planning to change the direction of your career? The Employment & Skills Pod can help you find the right opportunities.

Since launching in March, more than 70 B&NES residents have been helped with their job, business and training goals. Here is what some of them said about our services:
  • “People who work there are professionals and always do their best to help!”
  • “Straight to the point of the problem.”
  • “My recent experience with BATHNES Employment & Skills pod was very helpful, it opened my heart to what I would love to do and opened some doors to keep me progressing with my finances end career. 10 out of 10.”
  • “I thought it was very helpful, staff were clear, practical and very fast with support.”
Call us now on 0300 247 0050 or email us on You can also find out more on the website.

Live Well B&NES: information for all

A web-based resource providing information, signposting and support to residents in Bath & North East Somerset has launched. 
Live Well B&NES provides a wealth of useful information, signposting and resources for families, including Ofsted registered childcare, children and young people with additional needs (our SEND Local Offer) and adults needing care or support to live independently.
Information, services and groups are regularly added to Live Well B&NES. If you work with, support, provide services or run groups for children and young people or for adults needing care or support (such as older people, adults with physical disabilities and/or sensory impairments, people living with mental ill health), and haven’t already registered - make sure you’re included! It’s free and takes less than five minutes to register.
Find out more:

Future Bright

Do you know someone who is in work and wants to take the next step in their career? Future Bright offers FREE careers coaching, support and access to training. Future Bright Careers Coaches work with local residents to develop the skills and confidence needed to improve their work and pay. Check out the Future Bright newsletter to read about those who have already benefitted from the project.   
For more information go to or give us a call 01225 395555.

Specialised dementia groups in B&NES

Age UK Bath & North East Somerset are starting two new specialised Dementia Groups, which are now running weekly in Midsomer Norton & Bath.

These groups are a safe, fun environment for people to come for activities and friendship. Staff are trained in Maintenance Cognitive Behaviour Therapy which helps concentration, confidence, memory and wellbeing.

You can find out more here or call 01225 466135.

Do you look after someone else?

If you support someone who has a disability, illness, mental health condition, addiction or who needs extra help as they grow older, Bath and North East Somerset Carers’ Centre is here for you.

Their friendly team will listen to any concerns you have, offer practical advice and access to free wellbeing activities to ensure you’re happy and healthy in your caring role. Contact our freephone support line: 0800 038 8885 or email us. We’re available 8:15am-12pm, every weekday.

Support available from the Community Wellbeing Hub

Anybody who is a resident of Bath and North East Somerset can benefit from support from the Community Wellbeing Hub, including those people who are isolating due to testing positive for Covid-19 or being in contact with someone who has Covid-19.

A collaboration between Bath & North East Somerset Council; HCRG Care Group; the 3SG; Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group; and other third sector organisation representatives. The team can offer a range of support services such as mental health, returning home from hospital, income, housing and benefits advice, emergency food, as well as lifestyle services for help with stopping smoking, getting active or losing weight.

To contact the Hub:
Phone: 0300 247 0050.
Text: 07870 868368
Opening hours: Monday–Friday, 9am until 5pm

If you need to contact the council about its services please ring Council Connect on 01225 394041 or email

Domestic abuse

Southside provides help to people who live in Bath & North East Somerset who are at risk of domestic violence and abuse. The working hours are 9am-5pm Monday-Thursday, and 9am-4pm Fridays. Local support services can be found here.

Sight loss support

Sight Support West of England provides emotional and practical support to help people adjust to living with sight loss. Since lockdown this has been either online or over the phone. Now following careful planning, some Covid-secure face-to-face support sessions are resuming on an appointment only basis.

Your Community Sight Loss Adviser will be available at Manvers Street Baptist Church, Bath on the first Wednesday each month and at Midsomer Norton Town Hall on the 4th Thursday each month. 
To find out more, or make an appointment please call  0117 3224885 or email For more information on the full range of services visit

For more useful information visit the RNIB website:

Local agencies and useful links

We have been working closely with local agencies and if you would like to find out more about their work please look on their website: RUHAvon and Somerset PoliceCuro, and Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG.
  • Public Health England updates a daily dashboard:  It includes deaths that have occurred in all settings where there has been a positive Covid-19 test, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community. 
  • Latest information on coronavirus:
NHS information on coronavirus:
Visit our Bathnes youtube channel

Tune in

Local radio is a great way of keeping up to date with essential information, if you don’t already you should tune into BBC Radio Bristol, BBC Radio Somerset or BBC Radio Wiltshire.
BBC Radio Bristol BBC Radio Bristol
BBC Radio Somerset BBC Radio Somerset
BBC Radio Wiltshire BBC Radio Wiltshire
Somer Valley FM covers Midsomer Norton, Radstock, Westfield and surrounding villages including Farrington, Paulton, Peasedown, Coleford and Stratton.

Broadcast online and on 97.5fm you can contact at or call 01761 411 755
Somer Valley 97.5FM Somer Valley 97.5FM
Bath Radio is a community radio station which has been operating as a hospital radio station for the past 50 years. It now broadcasts to the wider Bath community. Listen online.
Radio Bath provides local news and information, promotes the city and supports its businesses, charities and community organisations.
Keynsham’s KTCRfm 105.8FM is now broadcasting 24/7.

KTCRfm covers Keynsham, Saltford, Hanham, Bitton, Warmley, Clutton, Timsbury, the Chew Valley and as far south as Temple Cloud. East to the eastern edge of Bath. North across South Gloucestershire to the M4 corridor and west into many parts of Bristol.
KTCRfm 105.8FM KTCRfm 105.8FM

BA1 Radio have been established for a year in Bath and operate from a studio in Southside Youth Hub, broadcasting twelve hours of shows every weekday, focusing on Bath and the local community, including hourly news reports.


call: 01225 941 080
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B&NES Council Website

Date published: 2021-12-21

Cllr Kevin Guy, Leader of Bath & North East Somerset Council

Date published: 2021-12-21