Site News & Covid 19 Updates
Covid - 19 Coronavirus Site Updates as at 13th May 2020
Our facebook page (North Bournemouth Allotment Society) is normally the most up to date way to stay in touch. Please act responsibly - Keep Safe and be mindful that many of our neighbours are still at home all day and we ask that you comply fully with the information we have recently sent out on the use of power tools and open and closing our Main Gate.
LIMITED SHOP OPENING - UPON REQUEST - 13th MAY 2020
The document below was issued by the National Allotment Society
Covid 19 Emergency Measures - March 31st, 2020
CORONAVIRUS: What the NAS is doing to help members. The National Allotment Society is working to provide clarity for our members on what the virus outbreak and ensuing impacts will mean for Allotment Holders. As more information become available, we will be updating our advice to our members, please read the Q & As below on how the outbreak is affecting Allotment Sites and their use.
NAS Q & A On Allotments and Social Distancing
Protect yourself and your family
We are all living through a crisis, the likes of which the country has not experienced since war time. The community spirit that exists on allotment sites is now vitally important. Please remember to look out for one another during these very difficult times and take all the steps you can to reduce the risk of contagion from the Covid- 19 virus when you visit the plot.
Covid -19 - The virus that causes COVID 19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. The droplets are too heavy to hang in the air and they quickly fall and contaminate floors and surfaces.
Smaller airborne particles can remain in the air for some time. You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of a person who has Convid-19- hence the 2m social distancing requirement, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.
Can I still work my allotment during the Covid19 lockdown?
Yes, allotments are a great way of both getting exercise and obtaining food during this crisis.
Can I visit the allotment with my family?
Yes, government guidelines state that you can exercise with members of your household.
Why then is the NAS suggesting that we consider going alone to the plot?
This is just a suggestion and plot-holders can decide for themselves but we are looking at the bigger picture and concerned about the risk of sites being shut – as they have been in Ireland and France. If some plot-holders are happy to visit alone or stay away for a few weeks that reduces this risk.
How long can I stay at the plot?
Government Ministers have suggested that an hour’s walk is reasonable and asked us all to limit time spent outside the home. The Society believes that if you are using your plot for daily exercise it would be reasonable to spend an hour or two doing the jobs that need doing for that day and then to return home.
How can I ensure my family’s and everyone else’s safety at the plot?
Do not attend the plot if you have coronavirus symptoms or a family member is self-isolating
Take a flask of hot water, soap and paper towels to the plot with you (cold water will work too).
Use hand sanitiser (should be 60% alcohol content) before entering the site and opening any gate locks
Wash hands for at least 20 seconds after closing the lock, dry with a paper towel
The most effective part of hand washing is the drying using preferably paper towel to remove the layer of dead skin scales - on which virus and bacteria sit. Paper towel to compost heap.
DO NOT touch your face after using anything that has been touched by other people- use an elbow to work the push taps.
Wash your hands again for 20 seconds, dry with a paper towel before opening and closing the lock to leave the site
Use hand sanitiser after closing the lock
Wash hands when you get home
DO NOT gather together for a chat even if you are 2 metres apart
Observe “Social Distancing” with each other 2-3 metres
If you take your children to the plot, ensure that they stay within its confines and do not run around on communal paths and spaces.
Do not share tools
Do not wash your hands in water troughs
Can I drive to my allotment?
We do not have an overall answer to this question. Police forces are clamping down on non-essential travel, some have said that a short drive to the plot is permitted if there is no other choice, others are still enforcing the prohibition on driving to exercise. Check with your local force. Walk to the plot if at all possible and do not take public transport.
What about if I have hens or other livestock to care for at the plot?
Animal welfare considerations mean that this would be seen as essential travel even if further movement restrictions are put in place.
I am self-isolating or shielding, cannot go to the allotment and worried about losing my plot, what should I do?
Please make sure that you inform your Allotment Association that you are unable to visit the site, preferably in writing, so that they can make allowances for your situation.
What changes should Allotment Associations make to site management?
Pin up information about social distancing and hygiene on a notice board or the gate. Undertake risk assessments and take appropriate action to reduce hazards around any areas of the site that could cause contagion e.g. communal water troughs, taps, and gate locks. The NAS does have further detailed information on risk assessments and the duty of care for Self-Managed Associations please email if this is required.
All communal facilities including toilets should be closed.
It is essential that no un-authorised people are allowed onto the plots for the duration of this emergency, if you do wish to bring someone to assist with work on the plot, please ensure that that this is notified either to Secretary or Site Manager. Careful consideration should be given to introducing anyone over 70, those with underlying illness or pregnant women.
Shops - those Associations who operate shops should close or put an on-line scheme in place. Where goods are ordered by email, payment is electronic and goods are placed out for collection.
Bonfires and BBQs - Could those Associations who allow bonfires all year round ask people to consider their neighbours and not burn anything during this covid19 emergency. Many sites are surrounded by houses where vulnerable people may be getting their only bit of fresh air through an open window. This consideration also applies to BBQs.
Plot inspections and allocations should be postponed until they can be done safely and within government guidelines.
It is likely that a percentage of plot-holders (who are self-isolating or shielding) will be unable to visit their plots, these plot-holders should not be penalised at subsequent plot inspections.
Perhaps a buddy system could be put in place, untended plots could at least be covered.
Public Footpaths through allotment sites - if you have a footpath running through the site that is used by large numbers of people associations could consider taking the following steps.
• Tying gates open if it is safe to do so, so that walkers do not need to touch the gate.
• There is no power under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 for landowners to close or obstruct a public right of way, however associations could put up a polite notice asking walkers to respect plot-holders by following social distancing guidelines and consider using alternative routes that do not pass through the allotment gardens.
• Offering a permissive alternative route around gardens only where it is safe to do so (permission must be obtained from relevant landowners and steps must be taken to make sure the route is safe for users and livestock) provided that the original right of way is maintained. It is also necessary to check the insurance position before doing this to ensure that appropriate cover is in place.
Please see further advice from Natural England - Using Green Spaces and also guidance on the Countryside Code. NAS recommend that this issue is discussed further with the landowner, prior to any action been taken.
Flytipping - with the increase in people spending more time at home due to COVID-19, Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) became very busy. Many local authorities have taken the decision to turn people away and close centres due to staffing shortages and concerns over social distancing. It is now estimated that 85% of HWRCs have closed and councils have seen an increase in fly-tipping incidents. Steps you can take to prevent fly-tipping happening on your allotment:
State someone has fly-tipped on your property.
Day/date/time waste was discovered.
Location of the waste including any landmarks, street, town, grid reference location, or if it is in proximity to water.
Description and quantity of the waste e.g. bag, drum, fridge, tyres, building waste.
Take photographs/video evidence.
Ensure waste is disposed of safely and responsibly once the relevant authority has all the evidence.
Non-Urgent: Dial 101 to report a crime after it has taken place. If it is a large-scale issue you should also report to the incident to the Environment Agency (for England) or NRW (for Wales).
• State someone has fly-tipped on your property.
• Day/date/time waste was discovered.
• Location of the waste including any landmarks, street, town, grid reference location, or if it is in proximity to water.
• Description and quantity of the waste e.g. bag, drum, fridge, tyres, building waste.
• Take photographs/video evidence.
• Ensure waste is disposed of safely and responsibly once the relevant authority has all the evidence.