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NAS PLOT HOLDER SURVEY 2020

Please click on the link below to take part in the

NAS PLOT HOLDER SURVEY 2020

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeHZWrpZ-ir9uKVs4jO8nXaKF3px5luHrfMmrOEJgADgIRuEw/viewform

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BIRD FLU LATEST

Avian influenza (bird flu) national prevention zone declared

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across the whole of England to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading, the UK’s Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss has confirmed today (11 November).This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures.

The prevention zone means bird keepers across the country must:

  • Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources;
  • Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;
  • Minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures;
  • Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy;
  • Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas.

The prevention zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of our work to monitor the threat of bird flu.

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DOBIES SEEDS DISCOUNT

 WE HAVE ARRANGED A DISCOUNT FROM

DOBIES SEEDS

50% OFF ALL SEEDS

15% OFF ALL OTHER ITEMS

VISIT

www.dobies.co.uk

ENTER DISCOUNT CODE

GD1369G

AT THE CHECKOUT

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COVID 19 UPDATE

5 November – a new English national lockdown comes in to force. We have adjusted the advice below accordingly and will review on a regular basis.

Plot-holders in Wales must follow Wales Assembly coronavirus restrictions

Stay at Home, Protect the NHS, Save Lives

It is permitted to visit your allotment during this month- long lockdown to take some exercise. Please remember to carry on using social distancing and taking hygiene precautions when visiting the site and touching communal surfaces. Plot-holders over 70 years of age, regardless of general health are particularly vulnerable. It may feel safe on an allotment site but there are still risks.

NAS Q & A  On Allotments and Social Distancing

Protect yourself and your family

Covid -19 – The virus that causes COVID 19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks.  Some droplets are too heavy to hang in the air and they quickly fall and contaminate floors and surfaces. Other 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 and friends?

It is permitted to visit your allotment during this month- long lockdown but you can only visit with your household, support bubble or one other person from another household if permitted by site/association rules and regulations.

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, this includes people who need to isolate after returning from holidays abroad.

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

Observe “Social Distancing” with each other 2 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

I am self-isolating  and cannot go to the allotment and worried about losing my plot, what should I do?

Please make sure that you inform your Council Allotment Officer or 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, there is a QR code at the bottom of this page that links to our updating page.

If you do wish to bring someone to assist with work on the plot, please ensure that that this is notified either to the Secretary or Site Manager so that they can authorise and are aware of who is on site. It is essential that no un-authorised people are allowed onto the plots for the duration of this emergency. Careful consideration should be given to introducing anyone over 70, those with underlying illness or pregnant women.

Risk 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, equipment, taps, and gate locks. Click Here for further guidance and a link to the government advice around cleaning in non-healthcare settings..

The NAS does have further detailed information on risk assessments and the duty of care for Self-Managed Associations please email natsoc@nsalg.org.uk  if this is required.

Gatherings – Community Activities must stop during the lockdown.

All communal facilities including toilets should remain closed. The Society’s view is that most allotment association’s do not have the capacity to fulfill the necessary requirements to safely open and clean site toilets or communal buildings.

Communal Water Points many sites will have communal taps and water troughs, the use of which could potentially spread the disease. The water supply itself is chlorinated https://www.wessexwater.co.uk/coronavirus.  Associations may want to consider a system whereby volunteers fill up plot-holder’s water butts from the taps. The volunteers would wear single use gloves (click here for de-gloving advice) and follow good practice around social distancing and hygiene.

Toilets – the Society’s view is that most allotment association’s do not have the capacity to fulfill the necessary requirements to safely open and clean site toilets, especially as most are compost toilets with no running water and where bleach/disinfectant should not be introduced to the system. We would also question whether it is reasonable for an association to ask volunteers to carry out this risky activity. Public Toilets that are open are subject to regular (more than once a day) deep cleans by operatives in disposable PPE and are closely supervised.

AGMs are right at the heart of member democratic control in co-ops and community businesses. We also know that because of COVID-19 and social distancing, our members have faced a number of dilemmas regarding how and when to hold their AGMs.

The Government has confirmed that co-operative and community benefit societies, in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, are covered by legislation that provides businesses with greater flexibility in how and when they hold their Annual General Meetings (AGMs), or any other General Meetings (GMs) until the end of 2020.

Back in March the government announced it would be legislating to give companies greater flexibility in how they approach AGMs and GMs in 2020. Co-op UK worked with government to ensure legislation was extended to societies in a useful way.

The legislation gives societies legal certainty and comfort if they need to breach their rules, and usual good co-operative practice, by:

  • Holding their AGMs and GMs in ways that restrict in-person participation
  • Holding their AGMs and GMs with online participation
  • Delaying their AGMs and GMs

The legislation will initially provided this period of legal certainty and comfort up to the end of September 2020. Government has now confirmed that legislation has been extended to the end of December 2020, for societies in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and may be reviewed again. The legislation will also apply retrospectively from 26 March, so any AGMs and GMs societies held from that date onwards are covered.

Contact natsoc@nsalg.org.uk for further information and support.

Shops – it is now compulsory to wear a mask when inside a shop.  The Society considers that unless you are able to comply with the stringent conditions within the Horticultural Trades Association guidance for Garden Centres (CLICK HERE to view) that Allotment shops should remain physically closed with an online/remote system in place. CLICK HERE for an example.

Shared Machinery- please contact natsoc@nsalg.org.uk for detailed advice

Bonfires Please check with your Local Authority before authorising bonfires on the site. Garden bonfires contribute to air pollution, especially when green material is burnt. Air Quality can be checked at this link – CLICK HERE

Plot inspections –if you are still carrying out plot inspections they should be paused, do not penalise plot-holders who have been ill, shielding or stayed away from the plot because they are clinically vulnerable.

If you are unsure as to which tenants have been shielding or ill, one option of dealing with the situation would be (from the point at which plot inspections are re-instated) to regard all tenants as if they hold new tenancies and apply the relevant criteria in your tenancy agreements. For associations using the NAS model agreement that would mean you would expect a quarter of the cultivable area of the plot to be cultivated within the next three months and the whole within one year. This would give tenants who have been obliged to shield themselves a fair opportunity to restore their plots to good condition, taking into account the degeneration in plot condition that has occurred in their absence. In as much as we are about to enter autumn, this would mean in practice that tenants would just have to ensure that at least of the quarter is adequately prepared for the winter break and ready for spring cultivation. In addition, it would be a good idea to insist that all material nuisances to other plot-holders resulting from non-cultivation be remedied within the same three months. This would mean, for example, the removal of grass seed heads and overhanging brambles.

Plot allocations – should be paused for the duration of the lockdown

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.

Click on the link to read about self isolating

Click on the link to read about social distancing

Click on the link to read some useful advice about hygiene Germ Defence

Government advice about the Coronavirus is updated on a regular basis at these links.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

Wales Assembly coronavirus restrictions

For NHS information and advice CLICK HERE

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H5N8 AVIAN INFLUENZA

H5N8 avian influenza (bird flu) has been confirmed in Cheshire, 2.11.2020

Poultry keepers, please take precautions to limit the risk to your flock.

To ensure good biosecurity, all poultry keepers should:

  • minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures
  • clean footwear before and after visiting birds, using a Defra approved disinfectant at entrances and exits
  • clean and disinfect vehicles and equipment that have come into contact with poultry
  • keep areas where birds live clean and tidy, and regularly disinfect hard surfaces such as paths and walkways
  • humanely control rats and mice
  • place birds’ food and water in fully enclosed areas protected from wild birds, and remove any spilled feed regularly
  • avoid keeping ducks and geese with other poultry species, where possible
  • keep birds separate from wildlife and wild waterfowl by putting suitable fencing around outdoor areas they access
  • keep a close watch on birds for any signs of disease and report any very sick birds or unexplained deaths to your vet
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STOCKPORT HOMES COMMUNITY FUND

You can apply for up to £1,000 from the fund, get you applications in now.

https://www.stockporthomes.org/community-fund/

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GMSF full plan

GM plan for Homes, Jobs ,and the Environment

https://www.greatermanchester-ca.gov.uk/what-we-do/housing/greater-manchester-spatial-framework/gmsf-full-plan/

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ALLOTMENT ASSOCIATION TRUSTEES

TRUSTEES

All allotment associations need trustees.   

It is the trustees who sign the lease agreement between SMBC and the association.

We have recently discovered some associations do not have trustees, or their trustee information is out of date.

It is essential that all associations have up to date trustee information and keep SMBC informed of any changes.

Can all committees please check the status of your trustee information.

Thank you

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BEWARE OF THE SUN

KEEP SAFE IN THE GARDEN: PROTECTING YOURSELF FROM THE SUN

Posted by Bill Dubert



He may look happy and keep your plants growing, but he wants to destroy you. The shades and smirk are a dead giveaway.

Hopefully, by now pretty much every regular gardener knows that gardening without some sun protection can be damaging to your skin and health. Many gardeners use sun shirts and hats to keep themselves protected, and this is a great way to be safe. Sunscreen is also a viable way to keep yourself safe from the sun’s harmful rays, but there are a few things about sunscreen that you might not know.

  • SPF 30 blocks about 97% of the suns harmful UV rays. What most people don’t realize is that studies have shown that SPF ratings higher than 30 also only block about 97% of these rays, so the difference is negligible. It’s important to remember this, as very high SPF numbers give a lot of people a false sense of security, leading them to use less sunscreen or stay out in the sun longer.
  • SPF ratings only apply to UVB rays. Make sure to use a quality sunblock that blocks UVA rays as well. Sunscreens with titanium dioxide, avebenzone, or zinc oxide all provide good UVA protection.
  • You need to really slather it on. Studies have shown that most people use significantly less sunscreen than is required for full protection. Some of these studies have even suggested that most sunscreen users apply 10% or less of what they should, which can greatly reduce the protection the sunscreen provides.
  • Reapplication guidelines on the bottle of your sunblock isn’t just to sell more sunblock. Your sunblock not only comes off of your skin fairly easily, but also loses potency as it is is exposed to UV rays. Don’t go more than two hours between reapplications. Seriously.
  • Some people say, “Well, I’m already burned, I can skip the sunblock.” This is the opposite of the case. Skin that is sunburned can actually be more susceptible to the sun-induced mutations that can, over time, cause skin cancer.
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NAS Covid-19 update 28,7,2020

Covid 19 Emergency Measures

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.

UPDATED 28/07/2020  – gatherings, toilets, bonfires, masks.

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.

As lockdown restrictions begin to ease it is important that plot-holders do not drop their guard and remember that those over 70 years of age, regardless of general health are particularly vulnerable and should be limiting any contact with people outside of their household.

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

How long can I stay at the plot?

The Government have now removed the limit on exercise time.

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

Observe “Social Distancing” with each other 2 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?

Yes you can drive to your allotment

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 keep bees on my plot – do they count as livestock?

Yes bees are seen as livestock, the BBKA are working with DEFRA and have advised beekeepers that they can visit  bees for welfare purposes such as for checking feed or queen cell preparation. They remind beekeepers that they must take into account social distancing and safe access, and when dealing with swarming to not go into houses, roofs etc, or go through houses to reach swarms. Click here for more from the BBKA.

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 Council Allotment Officer or 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, there is a QR code at the bottom of this page that links to our updating page.

If you do wish to bring someone to assist with work on the plot, please ensure that that this is notified either to the Secretary or Site Manager so that they can authorise and are aware of who is on site. It is essential that no un-authorised people are allowed onto the plots for the duration of this emergency. Careful consideration should be given to introducing anyone over 70, those with underlying illness or pregnant women.

Risk 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, equipment, taps, and gate locks. Click Here for further guidance and a link to the government advice around cleaning in non-healthcare settings..

The NAS does have further detailed information on risk assessments and the duty of care for Self-Managed Associations please email natsoc@nsalg.org.uk  if this is required.

Gatherings Community Activities can resume but reasonable steps must be taken to mitigate the risk of transmission, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance and including completion of a risk assessment. Click here for the full text from the Covid19 FAQs

However,  the government advises that you must continue to follow strict social distancing guidelines when you are with anyone not in your household or your support bubble.  Click here for government guidance about gatherings from the 4 July.

All communal facilities including toilets should remain closed. The Society’s view is that most allotment association’s do not have the capacity to fulfill the necessary requirements to safely open and clean site toilets or communal buildings.

Communal Water Points many sites will have communal taps and water troughs, the use of which could potentially spread the disease. The water supply itself is chlorinated https://www.wessexwater.co.uk/coronavirus.  Associations may want to consider a system whereby volunteers fill up plot-holder’s water butts from the taps. The volunteers would wear single use gloves (click here for de-gloving advice) and follow good practice around social distancing and hygiene.

Toilets – the Society’s view is that most allotment association’s do not have the capacity to fulfill the necessary requirements to safely open and clean site toilets, especially as most are compost toilets with no running water and where bleach/disinfectant should not be introduced to the system. We would also question whether it is reasonable for an association to ask volunteers to carry out this risky activity. Public Toilets that are open are subject to regular (more than once a day) deep cleans by operatives in disposable PPE and are closely supervised. The government also advises people to avoid public toilets.

AGMs  If the Association decides to hold a physical AGM reasonable steps must be taken to mitigate the risk of transmission, in line with COVID-19 Secure guidance and including completion of a risk assessment. Consideration should be given to the fact that many people, especially those who are clinically vulnerable, will still be cautious about attending gatherings and unlikely to attend.

The FCA will not take action against incorporated bodies whilst restrictions are in place. If it is allowed by your constitution and all your plot-holders are able to participate it may be possible to hold a remote AGM. Contact natsoc@nsalg.org.uk for support.

Shops – it is now compulsory to wear a mask when inside a shop.  The Society considers that unless you are able to comply with the stringent conditions within the Horticultural Trades Association guidance for Garden Centres (CLICK HERE to view) that Allotment shops should remain physically closed with an online/remote system in place. CLICK HERE for an example

Bonfires Please check with your Local Authority before authorising bonfires on the site. Garden bonfires contribute to air pollution, especially when green material is burnt. Air Quality can be checked at this link – CLICK HERE

Plot inspections – if you have recommenced plot inspections it is important that you stay within government guidelines  around social distancing/hygiene/gatherings and do not penalise plot-holders who have been ill, shielding or stayed away from the plot because they are clinically vulnerable.

Perhaps a buddy system could be put in place for people unable to visit their plot, untended plots could at least be covered.

Plot allocation – we would advise associations to carefully assess the risk of allocating plots. If  it is possible to allocate plots on a one to one basis, within social distancing rules then it should be possible.  Any prospective tenant must be given all the relevant safety information for the site.

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:

  • Restricting access to your site by installing gates or physical barriers (strategically placed objects)
  • Make sure gates are closed and, if possible, locked when not in use.
  • Improving visibility so that fly-tippers are not hidden from view. Fly-tippers prefer to commit their crimes out of sight.
  • Install or improve lighting if possible.
  • Consider placing appropriate deterrent signage and CCTV cameras.

Manage your sites effectively. Keeping areas tidy and removing waste quickly.

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.

Water invoices / payment problems for Allotments

The Consumer Council for Water are based in Birmingham Business Customer Hub. If you are unable to resolve your complaint with your water or sewerage provider, CCW can take up individual complaints on your behalf
www.ccwater.org.uk

Click on the link to read about self isolating

Click on the link to read about social distancing

Click on the link to read some useful advice about hygiene Germ Defence

Government advice about the Coronavirus is updated on a regular basis at this link.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public

For NHS information and advice CLICK HERE

If you are making a poster for the allotment gate, here is a QR code that will link direct to our latest advice.

Download this article as a press release PDF »

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