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Richmond Park Covid-19 Update: May 6


As I reported last week, the Government has approved the re-opening of waste disposal sites in England and Wales, at the discretion of the local councils. I know this is an area of concern for many of my constituents, so I asked Richmond and Kingston Council for their views on reopening their facilities.

Cllr Hilary Gander, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainable Transport in Kingston has said this: "Plans are being made across the South London Waste Partnership to ensure that when the (Villiers Road Household Refuse and Recycling Centre) reopens, it does so in a way which observes the current restrictions and social distancing guidance to ensure the safety of all staff and residents."

Richmond Council is similarly considering the actions necessary to re-open the Townmead Road site in the next few weeks, in line with expected amendments to government guidelines. The situation is complicated by the site’s proximity to Mortlake Crematorium, to which access is essential. The re-opening of the Townmead site therefore needs to be managed very carefully to ensure that queues are kept to a minimum without making undue calls on policing or putting staff in harm’s way. Council staff are considering how to achieve this and how to implement protocols necessary to maintain social distancing and safety of both staff and visitors to the site.

On behalf of all of the residents of Richmond Park I would like to thank the refuse collectors, site workers and council officers in both boroughs for continuing to provide waste disposal services during this crisis. They have worked under enormous pressure with reduced available staff to keep this constituency safe and healthy throughout the crisis. Neither council is reporting an increase in fly tipping, which is a testament both to the good service provided and to residents' patience and public spirit.


HMRC has begun contacting customers who may be eligible to apply for the Government’s Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) to explain the application process. The claims serviceopens on Wednesday 13 May and is being delivered ahead of schedule, with payments reaching bank accounts by 25 May, or six working days after the claim is made.  Further guidance can be found here:

The scheme will benefit self-employed individuals or those in a partnership whose business has been adversely affected by coronavirus, covering most people who get at least half of their income from self-employment.  SEISS is a temporary scheme that will enable those eligible to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their average trading profits up to a maximum of £7,500 (equivalent to three months’ profits) in a single installment. HMRC has opened an online eligibility checker; use this tool to see if you are eligible.


The Royal National Institute of Blind People has sent this useful information sheet on supporting blind and partially sighted people during the Covid-19 outbreak. Please have a look at it if you support a blind or partially sighted person, or if you might come into contact with someone who is visually impaired in the course of your work, including in a retail environment.