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Warwickshire Rural Hub

Health and Safety

Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull to go into Tier 3 from 2 December

Coventry, Warwickshire and Solihull will be placed into Tier 3, the very highest level of restrictions, from 2 December:

  • you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues
  • you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces
  • pubs, cafes and restaurants remain closed although they can operate a take-away service
  • gyms and leisure centres can remain open but group exercise cannot go ahead
  • all retail shops, personal care and close contact service may stay open

Read the full list of regulations on this page.  

Severn Trent Pesticide Amnesty Scheme

Between 1 December and 16 January 2021, farmers in Severn Trent priority catchments can sign up to dispose of unwanted pesticides through the water company’s free, COVID-secure Pesticide Amnesty scheme.  On a first come, first served basis, each farm can anonymously dispose of up to 75 litres or kilograms of pesticides, herbicides or rodenticides that have been banned or are passed their expiry date, through STW expert disposal partner, Chemastic  Register your details with Chemastic by calling 01287 213155 or emailing amnesty@chemastic.com   You will need to provide your catchment name and code, product name, active ingredient and concentration, weight and volume of the product in containers, collection address, two contact phone numbers and an email address.    After the registration period has closed, Chemastic will arrange a suitable collection date with you.

COVID-19 Winter Plan

The COVID-19 Winter Plan sets out the government’s programme for suppressing the virus, protecting the NHS and the vulnerable, keeping education and the economy going and providing a route back to normality.  The Plan also sets out how national restrictions will be lifted in England on Wednesday 2 December.  Vaccines are at the centre of the government’s plan to ensure life can return to as normal as possible. The government has announced agreements with seven different vaccine developers, securing access to more than 350 million doses to be made available across the UK. Next month, the government will be ready for a UK-wide vaccination programme to begin, provided regulators approve the vaccines.   Read the Winter Plan on this page.

2019 report on the spread of bovine TB

The Animal and Plant Agency 2019 Epidemiology report relating to bovine TB was released in October 2020.   The document showcases how the disease is spreading in cattle across the country as well as the main sources of infection.   In Warwickshire in 2019 there were 64 incidents of bTB (page 37 of the report).  Please click here to read the whole report.

England declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone

The UK’s Chief Vet has declared an Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) across the whole of England (11.11.20) to mitigate the risk of the disease spreading.  The introduction of the AIPZ comes after two separate, unrelated cases in kept poultry and birds confirmed in England last week and a third case of H5N8 avian flu in captive birds was confirmed on at a broiler breeder farm in Herefordshire. A very small number of wild birds in South West of England have also been found to have the disease.  It is now a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures. Keepers with more than 500 birds will need to restrict access for non-essential people on their sites, workers will need to change clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and site vehicles will need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly.   Read more about the biosecurity measures that need to be followed by farmers and keepers of birds on this page.

Free emotional well-being support for small businesses from WCC

Many small and micro businesses don’t have an HR professional to provide support to employees struggling with stress and anxiety so Warwickshire County Council is extending its successful internal Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) to the employees and owners of micro and small businesses, with 10 or less employees, operating in the towns of Warwickshire.  The Employee Assistance Programme provides access to practical and emotional support on a wide range of topics including work, career, relationship, family, money management, debt, health and wellbeing.   Businesses need register their interest in this free service with no obligation to access the programme. They then make employees aware of the support and how to access the 24/7, 365 a day helpline.   Please visit this page for further information.

 

Website to help sheep farmers control parasites

Better and more targeted parasite control in sheep can lead to improvements in flock health and performance. The Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS) is an industry-led group formed to develop sustainable strategies for parasite control in sheep, facilitate and oversee the delivery of these recommendations to the industry and ensure that new research and development is incorporated to refine and improve advice given to the sheep industry.  Their website can be accessed here.  

Reminder of APHA notifiable disease list

The Animal and Plant Health Agency has updated its list of diseases that must be notified to them following the recent confirmed outbreak of Avian Influenza in Cheshire.  A reminder of the list of diseases is here.  

Sheep farmers advised to plunge dip flocks to treat scab

A new campaign has been launched reminding sheep farmers, contractors and prescribers that Organophosphate (OP) can only be used as a plunge dip.  They have been advised to plunge dip their flocks to treat scab over any other treatment.  The Sustainable Control of Parasites in Sheep (SCOPS), which launched the campaign, said the number of scab cases would increase into autumn and winter.   In 2018 cases of resistance in sheep scab mites to the injectable products were confirmed.  Since then there has been an increase in the number of flocks using OP, which once used correctly will remove resistant mites from a flock.  Read more here.

Risk level for Avian flu raised to medium

Following two cases of Avian flu in wild birds in the Netherlands the UK’s risk level has been raised to Medium.   It is important to prevent contact between wild birds and poultry and record all movements of vehicles and equipment.   The risks associated with storing bedding outside should also be considered.  Bird flu is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of bird flu you must report it immediately. If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77 – please select option 7).

RABI launches online mental health support

The farming charity Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution has launched a partnership with Qwell and Kooth to provide a free, confidential online community and counselling service for farmers and their families.  The initiative features two distinct sites – Qwell.io/rabi for adults, while Kooth.com/rabi is tailored to those aged 11-17.  The websites include dedicated farmer friendly content that addresses farming sector specific challenges such as loneliness, Brexit anxiety, animal health and crop disease and farm debt.   Users will be able to anonymously access farmer specific and more generic content, as well as a wealth of discussion boards, case studies and messaging functions. There are many tools, such as a journal to record and track progress against personal goals, as well as tips and articles.  In addition, all users can access one-to-one counselling support from BACP (British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy) recognised, qualified professionals through a chat function. The practitioners are trained in different forms of counselling, allowing them to meet individual needs and preferences.

NFU and CLA propose temporary diversions of Public Rights of Way where livestock are present

The NFU has worked with the CLA to propose an amendment to the Highways Act 1980 that will allow for temporary diversions of public rights of way where livestock are present.  The aim of this proposal is to keep members of the public safe when using a public right of way.  Such an amendment would allow for temporary diversions to be put in place easily and quickly where livestock are present.  Such a process would provide the necessary flexibility to ensure that farmers can make best use of their available grazing and enhance the safety of public rights of way users. In order to be successful it would also need to provide adequate safeguards for the rights of way network, so provision has been made to ensure that the alternative route offered is suitable.

Search before you dig with the free to use online search service

Did you know that it’s National Safe Digging Week ending on 26 September 2020?  Over one third of farmers have hit an underground pipe or cable whilst digging, or know a colleague that has – and tragically, 33 percent of these incidents resulted in fatalities.  To dig safely consider using www.linesearchbeforeyoudig.co.uk – a free to use online search service where any individual can check their works against owners’ utility assets. These assets include hundreds of thousands of kilometres of underground and overhead pipelines and cables in the electricity, gas, high pressure fuel/oil, heating, water and fibre optic networks.

Vigilance for lungworm advised

Cattle are infected with lungworm through eating grass which is contaminated with infective larvae passed out in the dung of other infected animals. Mild, damp conditions favour the survival of these larvae on the pasture.  The present warm conditions with rainfall favour this situation.

Lungworm is a parasitic infection of the respiratory tract in cattle, which can cause severe disease outbreaks with coughing and respiratory distress. Death can occur in heavy infestations. Other signs can include weight loss, and reduced milk yield in dairy cows.  Animals that are exposed to lungworms usually develop immunity to re-infection. However, a lack of exposure in young cattle can result in clinical disease in older cattle. In order to maintain immunity, further exposure to lungworm is important.  Disease in older animals is being increasingly diagnosed in AFBI both in those that have not previously been exposed, or in those whose immunity has diminished due to not having been re-exposed and so vigilance is advised.

Businesses asked to report Covid-19 cases to Warwickshire Public Health

Warwickshire County Council is asking all businesses in Warwickshire to immediately contact Warwickshire Public Health 24/7 if they have two or more suspected or positive cases of Covid-19. You should also notify the Public Health England West Midlands health protection team by ringing 0344 225 3560.

Warwickshire Public Health can be contacted on dphadmin@warwickshire.gov.uk 

Some types of business may experience more rapid infection rates. If your business falls into one or more of the categories listed below, please contact Warwickshire Public Health immediately in the event of ONE positive test:

  • Food processing factories/plants;
  • Agricultural settings where seasonal staff live on site;
  • Warehouses and manufacturing sites which may be noisy (meaning staff need to shout to be heard) and where ventilation may be poor and/or social distancing may be difficult;
  • Workplaces with multiple shared facilities or high turnover of staff/visitors;
  • Workplaces with high turnover of agency staff;
  • Other workplaces where social distancing may be difficult.

By notifying then immediately of outbreaks or single cases in high risk settings you will be helping to provide the quickest possible Warwickshire response.

Coventry Corsairs Rugby Club

Coventry Corsairs is Coventry’s first fully inclusive Rugby Club. They train at Coventrians in Holbrooks on Tuesdays and Thursday evenings 7pm – 8.30pm.   All ages and abilities and anyone with a love of rugby are welcome.  For contact details please visit this page.

 

It’s OK not to be OK

Please remember its OK not be OK.  Take a look at the Yellow Wellies Mind Your Head page to see where you can access support when the going gets tough.   The Farming Community Network support line is open every day of the year, 7.00am – 11.00pm.

Tel: 03000 111999 or email help@fcn.org.uk

 

 

What3words: the app that could save your life

What3words is a free app that points to a very specific location in the world.  It has divided the world into 57 trillion squares, each measuring 3m by 3m (10ft by 10ft) and each having a unique, randomly assigned three-word address.  When you download the app it will find your location and give you the 3 words that are assigned to your location – which can be given to emergency services to enable them to locate you straight away.  The app does not need a phone connection to give you your three words.  

Download the Farmers’ Guardian guide to safeguarding your farm

For Farm Safety Week (14 – 22 July) Farmers’ Guardian has published an Intelligence Guide for Health and Safety, making sure that in a time of increasing numbers of farm fatalities you can take steps to better safeguard your farm and your future. Download your copy here.

The little book of minding your head

There are a number of mental health risk factors associated with agriculture. Farmers work long hours, often in isolation. They can be under significant financial pressure, often required to take on significant debt to purchase the land and equipment required to operate. And in most cases, a farmer’s place of business is also his or her home, meaning there is no easy way to get away from the workload.   Increased understanding, and discussions around mental health will, in time, reduce the discrimination experienced  by those who have mental health issues. The Farm Safety Foundation’s Little Book of Minding Your Head offers a pocket guide to understanding mental health and stress management.  Download your copy here.

Good Farm Guide published by Health and Safety Executive

A guide entitled “What a good farm looks like” has been published by Health and Safety Executive.   The guide will help farmers understand the common risks to health and safety on farms and what can be done to control them.  HSE Inspectors will also look at the topics covered in this guide when they visit farms to check that risks are being controlled in these areas.  The guide can be accessed here.

Livestock safety focus from the Farm Safety Partnership

The NFU and partners in the Farm Safety Partnership are highlighting steps that farmers can take to better manage risk to themselves, their workers and to the public.

The key messages to industry they are promoting are:

1. Select and use well designed handling facilities, in the yard, buildings and field. Keep them maintained.

2. Never enter an enclosure with a loose bull or when an unrestrained cow is with a calf unless the animals are restrained or segregated.

3. Remove aggressive animals from the herd.

4. Wherever possible separate livestock from the public and select fields without rights of way when cattle have calves at foot.

Further information can be viewed here.

Farm Safety Partnership aims to reduce fatal accidents by 50%

The NFU and partners in the Farm Safety Partnership (FSP) have committed to work towards reducing farm work place fatal accidents by 50% by 2023.  To help achieve this ambition, the NFU and FSP partners are launching a year-long safety campaign focusing attention on four of the top causes of farm work place fatality and injury.  The aim of the campaign is to highlight changes that can be made by farmers to farm work place behaviours which, if implemented, have the potential to significantly improve the safety record of agriculture and save lives often at minimal cost.

The first quarter‘s campaign focuses on transport.  A new NFU Vehicle Health Check Guide has been released to help farmers maintain and use vehicles safely and comply with the law.  The guide can be downloaded here.

Tips for reducing fire risk

Every year in the UK, 1,700 farm buildings and 66,000 acres of grassland are destroyed by fire.
Tips to consider for reducing fire risk:
• Hay and straw should be removed from fields as soon as possible after harvesting
• Hay and straw should be stored separately from other buildings, particularly those housing fuels, agrochemicals and machinery in stacks of reasonable size, spaced at least 10 metres apart separately from livestock housing
• Petrol, diesel and other fuels should be stored in secure areas and storage tank outlets should be padlocked.
• Fertilisers and pesticides should be kept under lock and key. The Health & Safety Executive can provide further advice on the storage and transportation of fertilisers, particularly ammonium nitrate.
• Rubbish should be disposed of safely and on a regular basis
Warwickshire Fire and Rescue state that it is very important to ensure that the property name whether a farm, house or business is clearly shown at the entrance so emergency services can locate your property as quickly as possible.

Beware of waste materials in animal bedding

During routine inspections the Environment Agency has discovered instances where waste materials, such as plasterboard and wood contaminated with plastics, metals and other hazardous material have been used as animal bedding on farms. This may be harmful to livestock, the environment, is illegal and can be very expensive to clean up.  Farmers should be present during the delivery of waste materials to their farm. Ensure that simple checks are made on whether the waste is to the same specification as you agreed and that it is free from contaminants. Wrongly described waste, contaminated waste or waste that is not allowed under a U8 exemption should be rejected. For more information please contact the Environment Agency.

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The Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC
c/o Pleasance Farm, Kenilworth
Warwickshire, CV8 1PR

Email: info@ruralhub.org.uk
Tel: 07780 159291

Company Registration No: 7026157
Registered office: 23 West Bar Street, Banbury, OX16 9SA

 

Hub Chair

Henry Lucas
E: henrylucas76@gmail.com

 

Hub

Co-ordinator

Jane Hampson
E: info@ruralhub.org.uk

Tel: 07780 159291

Warwickshire Rural Hub CIC Directors

Henry Lucas (Chair)
Graham Collier (Deputy Chair)
Karen Ellis
Carrie Robbins
Alexandra Robinson

 

Hub Steering Group Members

George Bostock, NFU
Andrew Cook, Farmer
Mark Dickin, Ellacotts Accountants
Emlyn Evans, Squab Hall
Marcus Faulkner, Sheldon Bosley Knight
Tom Newbery, Highfield Farm
Alexandra Robinson, Wright Hassall LLP
Matt Willmott, King's Seeds

 

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