It was lovely to see the Mendips featured on this week’s Countryfile on BBC1. What a beautiful part of the world we are lucky enough to live in! The downside of this of course is that so many people (and their cars!) are attracted to these beauty spots, posing a significant threat to the delicate ecosystems and ecologies.
It’s such a difficult balance to strike – it’s right that people should be able to enjoy the countryside but we must do everything we can to protect beautiful areas such as the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The AONB has launched a project to better understand and manage visitor pressure on the area. For more information, or to share your ideas on how to encourage sustainable recreation within the Mendip Hills AONB, you can email them on [email protected]b.org.uk.
Just for now though, I really hope people listen to the government’s advice to stay at home.
The new virus strains are much more infectious. Unlike during the last lockdown, many of us have either had covid or we know someone who has. The risk is real, and your District Council has been asked by Government and health professionals to step-up, help fight the virus, and save lives.
Mendip has already been supporting the vaccination roll-out. Our Council offices have been transformed into a medical hub, with staff volunteering. Around £34m in business grant schemes has been distributed to 4,000 local businesses during lockdown. And we’ve been looking after local communities for many months now, assisting the vulnerable through food distribution, personal care and mental health concerns. Making sure the right support is getting to where it’s needed most.
Our main focus now must be to support the NHS through vaccination and mass testing, and to sustaining our local economy. To do that we have to re-prioritise the council’s activities in the short term. We will still deliver our statutory services, things like preventing homelessness, environmental health, licensing, planning and collecting your bins, but some of our corporate priorities are on pause for now, and will be reviewed monthly.
It’s frustrating, but critical to our recovery, and the quicker we act, the swifter we will find ourselves able to gather with our families and friends – and to safely visit those beautiful Mendips again. On that note, I’m sending you all my very best wishes. If you need help, or know someone who does, call the Coronavirus helpline 0300 790 6275. It's available 8am to 6pm, including weekends. And you can contact me either through my Facebook page, @Ros.Wyke, or via email: [email protected].
Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council
Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: [email protected].