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Moooove over for grazing winter visitors at Sefton’s Nature Reserves

Sefton Council is welcoming sheep and cattle on to the local Nature Reserves at Ainsdale and Birkdale this week, as part of the its continuing conservation works.

Each winter, the Council brings grazing animals onto the reserves as part of Green Sefton’s management of the dunes. The seasonal grazing benefits nature conservation, as the animals help to control vegetation growth, encouraging diverse plant species to grow and dune specialists such as Natterjack Toads to thrive.

This year, Herdwick sheep from Cumbria alongside Belted Galloway and White Shorthorn cattle from neighbouring Lancashire have been moved on to the reserve. Before the cattle and sheep arrived for the winter, the fenced enclosures on the reserves were checked by Rangers to ensure that they were secure and safe for this year’s grazing.

Belted Galloway cow
Belted Galloway cow on Ainsdale reserve

Green Sefton is urging everyone to act responsibly if they visit the reserves to catch a glimpse of the special winter visitors. Dog walkers are reminded that pets should be kept on a lead and under close control within fenced grazing areas, following the Countryside Code.

Gordon White, Countryside Officer for Green Sefton, said: “These grazing animals are an essential tool in the management of Sefton’s scientifically important sand dunes. Not only do they help us to improve habitats, but they really help to optimise the potential of Sefton’s important natural assets.

“We urge all dog walkers to keep their pets on a lead, under close control and away from the sheep and cows they may see in the fenced grazing areas this winter – just as you would on any site or farmers field where livestock are kept. Whilst they are docile animals and used to seeing people, they could be a little nervous in their new Sefton home.”

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Conservation grazing is a fantastic, cost effective and natural way to protect our dune systems and it is great to see the animals making a return to our reserves again this winter.

“Sefton’s coastline is one of the most important areas in Britain for nature conservation, enjoying the highest level of protection under UK law as a site of specific scientific interest for its flora and fauna. On-going initiatives like this really help to enhance these important coastal ecological systems.”

Gordon White added: “We all have an obligation to protect these very special features, and balancing their needs with those of our visitors can be a tricky task. Part of our role at Green Sefton is to help our communities to learn and understand how fortunate we all are to have such incredible and fantastic species right on our doorstep. Working with our communities, as well as with partner organisations on specific environmental projects, we can achieve great improvements to our wonderful sand dune habitats.

“Ultimately this will enable us to be confident that we have contributed to passing them on to the next generation in a strong condition, to continue to survive, and provide them with fascinating wildlife spectacles.”

The animals will graze the reserves until early April 2021.

 

Transcript of Public Health Director Margaret Jones’ video on SMART COVID testing

SMART testing refers to an approach that’s been developed from the pilot asymptomatic testing that’s been taking place in Liverpool.

Asymptomatic testing is testing for COVID among people who don’t have the symptoms of a new persistent cough, high temperature or loss of send of smell or taste.

It used the same process that we use in the other testing sites for people who do have symptoms but the Lateral Flow tests used to find out whether someone has the virus can be done on the same site and we get the results back in about half an hour.

We’ll be offering this test to people across the whole of Sefton, and I’d encourage people to come along for a test not just once but on a repeat basis to see if they have the COVID virus.

The important this to remember is these tests are for people who don’t have coronavirus symptoms. Please don’t come along to these sites if you have symptoms or you have tested positive or coronavirus in the last 90 days.

The roll-out of SMART testing is happening across the Liverpool City Region and in many ways, it’s similar to the pilot in Liverpool.  It’s not going to be exactly the same or the same scale as Liverpool and that’s because we have been very lucky to learn from the Liverpool experience.

Our testing is going to be a bit more targeted. Anyone without symptoms can come along to be tested but we’d especially encourage those people who may be, because of their work, or setting at higher risk of exposure to the virus.

That could be people working in frontline services – either for the Council or in schools or in emergency services or it might be people who are working for the public – in shops or retail for example.

Once we have the stems for testing up and running, we’ll also try to work with vulnerable workplaces to see if we can come out and test staff and where appropriate test service users too.

SMART testing will help us find more people with COVID. It will be those people who DON@T have symptoms but who DO have the virus. If we can find those people early, we can help them avoid passing on the virus to other people.

This is really important for carers and for those who work with vulnerable people. If find out you are positive it means you can take steps to self-isolate, let your colleagues know and prevent passing the virus on to vulnerable people in you care.

It also means you are less likely to pass it on, without knowing, to your family and loved ones. And we may even be able to identify particular areas where we didn’t know the virus was spreading.

SMART testing alone won’t get rid of COVID so it’s really important to follow the current advice, to not mix with other households either at home or in pubs or restaurants, to keep using face coverings in shops and on public transport and in communal areas, in school for example. And keep washing hands and keep that 2-metre distance.

All of that together, along with testing, will help to reduce the level of the virus and help us reduce all the opportunities the virus has to spread.

We’ve had support from the military in setting up our dedicated SMART testing sites and we’ve got three at the moment. Bootle Leisure Centre Southport’s Splash World, and Aintree Racecourse.

Initially it will be the military who operate the testing sites but very quickly they will be handed over to a dedicated team of staff recruited by the Council.

If you get a positive result at a SMART testing site, we need to treat this in the same way as anyone who develops coronavirus symptoms, a raised temperature, persistent cough or loss of taste or smell. You would need to self-isolate and you would need to arrange to have another test at a regular national testing site here in Sefton.

You can do that by calling 119 or visiting www.nhs.uk/coronavirus to book a test. That test is to confirm that you DO have the virus.

If the test comes back positive, you’ll be contacted by the national test and Trace system and advised on the length of time you will need to isolate.

If it comes back negative you’ll be able to stop isolating and is because the PCR test used at the national sites is very sensitive and we take this as our ‘gold-standard’ test.

We expect SMART testing to be with us for the next few months at least. We obviously need to work without partners and the residents of Sefton to make sure that the sites are open at the right time and are easy to get to. An we’ll also look to develop pop-up or mobile testing to reach out to those who might need help to take part in testing.

 

 

Update on COVID-19 tests for Sefton residents who DON’T have coronavirus symptoms

Sefton residents who don’t have COVID-19 symptoms can now use Liverpool test sites to get a coronavirus test.

Test are currently available at:

  • Aintree Baptist Church, Longmoor Lane L9 0EH (from 12 noon on Thursday 10 December.)
  • Exhibition Centre Liverpool King’s Dock, Port of Liverpool, L3 4FP
  • Liverpool FC Anfield Stadium, Anfield Road, Liverpool, L4 0TH

Sites are open from 7am to 7pm and you don’t need an appointment.

Find out how to get a test. 

People can expect to get their results between 30 minutes and 2 hours after getting tested. They will receive their results by text or email soon after leaving the test centre.

Anyone whose result to the symptom-free test come back positive must self-isolate straight away and book a PCR test via www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

People who don’t have symptoms should not go to any test sites apart from the ones shown above as they put themselves at risk of catching the COVID-19 virus.

People who do have the coronavirus symptoms of:

  • a high temperature,
  • a new continuous cough
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste

should isolate and book a test online https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

Tier 2 COVID restrictions now apply for Sefton and Liverpool City Region

The national lockdown has ended and Sefton and the rest of the Liverpool City Region are now in Tier 2 ‘High Alert’ of the Government’s alert system.

What does Tier 2 mean?

Residents and businesses within Tier 2 must stick to the following restrictions:-

  • No household mixing in any indoor setting.
  • Rule of six applies outdoors – any social gatherings of more than six people are against the law.
  • Pubs and restaurants must close by 11pm – last orders will be called at 10pm.
  • Alcohol can only be served as part of a substantial meal.
  • Spectators are allowed at sports events and live performances (capacity will be limited and social distancing must be stuck to).
  • Personal care, including hairdressers and barbers, is allowed.

The Government is reviewing the Tiers every two weeks, meaning if our figures start to increase, we could be placed in a higher category with tighter restrictions so it’s really important that everyone keeps up their efforts.

Liverpool City Region went into the national lockdown on 5 November in Tier 3 ‘Very High Alert’. This means the actions taken and sacrifices made by residents and businesses over the last month have had a positive impact on our infection rates, resulting in the area now being placed in the lower Tier 2 category.

Why are these restrictions necessary?

 We know that COVID-19 is easily transmitted from person to person and while our infection rates have been reducing, they are still too high.

Action needs to be taken to stop the spread of the virus within our communities and limiting interactions with other people as much as possible will help to contain the virus.

The restrictions are in place to protect not only yourself, but those around you.

The sooner we can contain the virus within our communities, the sooner we can get back to some sort of normality.

Remember if you, or anyone in your household, starts to experience symptoms, it is important that you isolate and book a test. The main COVID-19 symptoms are a high temperature, a new continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste.

You can book a test online https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or by calling 119.

The full list of Tier 2 restrictions is available on the Government’s website.

Tier 2 guidance and the five-day Christmas arrangements for People who are Clinically Extremely Vulnerable from COVID-19.

Sefton Council Leader Cllr Ian Maher said:

“Everyone across the Liverpool City Region is playing their part to get our infection rates down and that effort is clearly having an impact as we have come out of lockdown in a better position and in the Tier 2 alert level.

By following the rules, we have seen a significant decrease in our infection rates across the Liverpool City Region and the mass testing programme in Liverpool is helping us to better understand the virus and, importantly, identify people who don’t have symptoms but have tested positive so that they can self-isolate and prevent the further spread of the virus.

Whilst our figures are reducing, they are still too high but we have demonstrated that by following the rules, we can improve our infection rates here across the Liverpool City Region. This is a great achievement and one that we will continue to build on over the coming weeks and months.

Stop. Think. Do the right thing by continuing to follow the rules so that we can start to do and enjoy the things we once did and get back to some sort of normality sooner.”

Joint statement from Metro Mayor, City Mayor and Leaders of the six Liverpool City Region Local Authorities on being in Tier 2 restrictions

Find out more about he Government’s arrangements for Christmas.

Sefton Council keen to ensure environmental & social factors fully considered in Port of Liverpool growth

Sefton Council has undertaken a review of alternative technologies and potential freight logistics solutions, and is committed to ensuring that environmental and social factors are fully considered alongside the economic factors, in the growth of the Port of Liverpool. This process has been undertaken with Arup, one of the world’s leading engineering and design consultancies.

Forecasts by the Department for Transport and by the port operator show an expected growth in traffic through the Port of Liverpool, and so Sefton Council remains severely concerned about the impacts on local communities.

We are committed to exploring alternative solutions to dealing with this growth, which is reflected in Sefton’s strong opposition to the proposals for the Port of Liverpool being designated a Freeport (as was reflected in the council’s response to the governmental conversation earlier this year) unless these environmental and social impacts are mitigated, and the local economic benefits truly harnessed.

We believe there are alternative technologies and solutions that are economically-viable and environmentally-friendly, which should be considered by stakeholders.

With support from Arup, Sefton Council has led on a study to better understand the technical and economic feasibility of a range of alternative solutions. This work identifies technological solutions that are in place elsewhere in the world that could apply to Sefton, and the Liverpool City Region, that deliver significant environmental benefits compared to road traffic, and that may be economically viable.

Leader of Sefton Council, Ian Maher, said “We believe that these opportunities not only align with the government’s objectives on innovation, technology and growth, but that they have the potential to support the connectivity and competitiveness of the Port of Liverpool, while also considering the impact of the port on local communities.

“We believe that these should be fully considered as part of the port access road project development process, and would welcome the opportunity to explore these project concepts further with the port operator, Department for Transport, and other key local stakeholders.

“Whilst we understand that the growth of the Port of Liverpool could bring potential economic benefits for local communities, if developed in the right way, we remain committed to ensuring that the social and environmental impacts of this growth are given at least equal weight by all parties.”

Peter Dowd, MP for Bootle, said “I welcome the report from Arup which adds a constructive dimension to the Port Access issue. Longer term multimodal freight options, as well as a major review of how government funds major infrastructure projects is needed if we are to break into the short term, reactive solution cycle that has bedevilled access to the Port for decades.”

Download the The Inland Port and Connectivity Concept report.

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