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News Report Page 10 of 11
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Sefton Council is reminding residents to make sure they dispose of disposable barbecues or hot coals safely

DISPOSING of the ash after using a charcoal or disposable barbecues, can be a headache and nobody wants a bin fire outside their home. Similarly, Sefton Council doesn't want still smouldering barbecues setting fire to its waste collection vehicles, which is what happened in Southport, on Wednesday, 15 July 2020.  The Coastal Road was closed temporarily between Woodvale and Pontins after a fire broke out in a Council waste disposal vehicle. The cause of the fire was found to be a barbecue that had not been properly extinguished. It is worth adding that disposable barbecues in Sefton are not currently recyclable, so cannot be put in recycling bins. Cllr John Fairclough, Sefton Council's Cabinet Member for Locality Services said:- "We would like to remind our residents not to put disposable barbecues or hot coals in their waste bins because, as we discovered yesterday, they can cause a fire inside our refuse collection vehicles. As well as causing extensive and expensive damage to our vehicles this also puts our collection crews at serious risk. Disposable barbecues and hot coals can take up to 48 hours to fully cool. Please leave these items in a safe place to cool or soak them in water before you put them in your waste bin."

New service launches to help reduce tenant and landlord disputes over rent arrears

A newly launched service to help resolve rent arrears issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic could potentially prevent tenants from being evicted and save landlords and tenants hundreds of pounds in Court fees. TDS Resolution has been launched by The Dispute Service (TDS), a not for profit company which also runs a number of Government approved tenancy deposit protection schemes. The service, TDS Resolution, endorsed by the National Residential Landlords Association (NRLA), has been developed in response to some of the measures put in place to protect tenants during the outbreak. At the moment, landlords are not allowed to evict tenants, a Government ruling introduced as part of emergency Coronavirus legislation in March, that has now been extended until 23 August 2020. In May, research by the Resolution Foundation found that 1 in 8 private tenants may have fallen behind with rent since the pandemic began and, in some cases, have stopped paying what they owe completely. However, landlords are now unable to take legal action.

TDS Chief Executive Steve Harriott said:- "In a world where some tenants are in arrears, we felt a service that would bring tenants and landlords together to help negotiate a rent repayment plan would be of real value. Our experienced and skilled team already provides a fair and impartial adjudication process for disputes that arise over the tenancy deposits we protect. We deal with around 20,000 disputes a year across the UK and quite often we can resolve up to 40% of these each month by using our telephone based early resolution service. We're excited to be launching this service, which we're sure will help landlords and tenants find a mutually agreeable way to deal with the tenant's rent arrears, rather than pursuing the costly and time consuming route of Court."

TDS Resolution is charging a fee of ₤150 plus VAT for landlords for the full service, but the initial contact with the tenant is free of charge. The NRLA's Chief Executive Ben Beadle said:- "We expect that COVID-19 will have a long lasting impact on the market. Whilst our research shows that the majority of tenants are continuing to pay their rent as normal, we know that some are facing financial difficulties leading to rent arrears as a result of the virus. In such circumstances we want to support landlords and tenants to sustain tenancies wherever possible. Our recently published Debt Guidance toolkit will help achieve this. The TDS Resolution service will provide an additional, valuable service to help broker a fair arrears repayment plan without the need to go to Court."

The Dispute Service is a not-for-profit company which means it continuously invests surpluses into raising industry standards with excellent service levels, quicker call response times, user friendly technology and faster dispute resolutions. TDS Resolve can be accessed online.

Liverpool looks to "cleaner School run" to maintain lockdown air quality levels

LIVERPOOL City Council has written to every School in the City offering road safety measures to help maintain improved air quality created by the Covid-19 lockdown. The Council has already implemented a pilot project around 8 Primary Schools to promote walking and cycling in a bid to create a cleaner, healthier and quieter School run before this term ends. And with air pollution levels down by a as a result of the lockdown, the Council is aiming to lock in more eco friendly travel habits and rotuines when all Schools return with full classrooms in September 2020.

The current pilot project includes temporary 1 way measures outside All Saints Primary School and Pinehurst Primary School in Anfield and temporary closures outside St Michaels in the Hamlet Primary School in Aigburth. Footways have also been widened around Mab Lane Primary School in West Derby and Longmoor Primary School in Fazakerley. The City Council is also supporting a road safety trial project with walking and cycling charity; Sustrans. This project will see road closures in West Derby around St Paul and St Timothy's and St Paul's and around St Mary's CE Primary School. These closures will be in place from 8.20am to 9.30am and 2.30pm to 3.45pm. These trials will be analysed with a view to a wider roll out in September when Schools return after the summer holidays. It is anticipated that more than ½ of the City's new 65 mile pop up cycle lane network will also have been implemented by then. The overall scheme is a unique collaboration between 4 Cabinet members at the City Council who began devising a Schools active travel plan after the Local Authority voted to declare a Climate Change Emergency, back in July 2019, and as part of a wider strategy to tackle high youth asthma rates in the City.

Since then, the 4 Councillors have pulled together an alliance of external partners such as Sustrans and Living Streets to work with the City Region's Cycling and Walking Commissioner Simon O'Brien, Council Officers in highways and education and Schools to encourage a greater take up in walking and cycling to and from School. The 4 are Councillor Sharon Connor, Cabinet member for Highways, Councillor Laura Robertson Collins, Cabinet member for Environment and Sustainability, Councillor Barbra Murray, Cabinet member for Education and Councillor Pam Thomas, Cabinet member for Inclusive and Accessible City.  Liverpool's cycling and walking commissioner has also written an open letter to parents and guardians urging them to continue walking and cycling with their children. Award winning TV presenter Simon O'Brien penned the plea in a bid to maintain the improved air quality and quieter roads witnessed during the Covid-19 lockdown. Simon's letter, which can be viewed online, was circulated via every School encouraging parents and guardians to ditch the car on the School run. In it he says:- "1 of the few positives that came from lockdown was the quiet streets on our doorsteps. We took to walking and cycling for our daily exercise or just to escape the inside of our homes and enjoy the clean air of our suddenly peaceful neighbourhoods. Let's keep something good going as normality thankfully returns."

In a joint response, Cllrs Connor, Robertson-Collins, Murray and Thomas, said:- "A safer, cleaner and quieter School run is going to have a tremendous benefit to our children's health and wellbeing, as well as our City's environment. We are delighted to see the fruits of so much hard work with our Schools finally coming to fruition. Covid-19 has caused an incalculable amount of grief but the lockdown has had the upside of proving there is a better and healthier way to travel; by foot or by bike; that is more sustainable and these arrangements will also take account of people with mobility limitations. The School run is a huge issue of concern when it comes to congestion, on street parking and the stress and air pollution all of that generates, which has a huge negative impact on both the adults and the children. These road safety trials are just the beginning but the support from Schools and parents have so far been encouraging. Hopefully a greater roll out after the summer holidays will follow and we can start to make these new behaviours and routines more permanent, and ultimately ensure our children's lungs and brains get the best start to life as possible."

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