Street Works UK Chief Executive Clive Bairsto CBE has provided the following update on the ongoing COVID-19 situation and its impact on the sector:
It’s clear that the ongoing COVID-19 situation is impacting business operations. Yet over the last few days as I have spoken to colleagues from across the sector, I’ve been amazed by the careful and considerate planning that our members are taking to ensure that Britain’s utility services stay running.
We are all faced with different challenges and each of our members are now planning and implementing measures that balances the welfare of staff and delivery of works. For many, this will mean working from home and the re-prioritisation of works. I was pleased to see the government has announced measures to classify utility workers as key workers, meaning that if their children cannot be kept safe at home, education will be prioritised for them. This will be hugely important for our members as essential works will need to take place if we are to keep the utility services that we all need running properly.
During these uncertain times, Street Works UK is working closely with our partners at the Joint Authorities Group (JAG), who have issued guidance on the planning and execution of current major works. Similarly, JAG has written to street authorities and asked them to relax enforcement on the renewal of street works cards, as operatives have had difficulty in renewing their cards.
Where possible, our members will be trying to operate business as usual. That’s why we have engaged with the Department for Transport and asked for the Street Manager go-live date to be pushed back by three months, so that we can adjust to these uncertain times. We will also be discussing what more can be done to keep our operatives safe and help local authorities deal with street works administration.
We are living through extraordinary times. The uncertainty is causing concern across the country, but I am reassured by the response our sector has taken to keep essential services running. In the weeks and months ahead, by working with partners in local authorities and government, I am confident that our members will continue to keep Britain moving forward, both through and beyond this extremely difficult time for our country.