Councillor Stephen Cooksey, Leader of Mole Valley District Council, said: “With the summer holiday period now at an end, children across the country are returning to school. It was announced in the past few days that the government is considering further advice concerning vaccines for 12 to 15 year olds. Albeit a slightly older age group, the latest Surrey statistics shows the effects that the festival and event season has had on the 15 to 20 year old age group, with an increase in COVID cases being seen across the county. It is vital that young people who have attended a big event and returned back to school or college keep testing and reporting their results to the NHS.
“In more positive news, it has recently been reported that 62.1% of teenagers aged 16 and 17 have had their first COVID jab in Surrey, just five weeks after the green light was given for this age group to receive the vaccine. This is a really encouraging start. We took action to target the under 40 age group in Mole Valley – of which over 20% have yet to receive their first dose – in an initiative we ran using £5 cinema vouchers for Dorking Halls to raise awareness about vaccinations. They were handed out on Friday 27th August in Dorking and Leatherhead ahead of a blockbuster film line-up at the venue this month.
“In national news, the government will be proceeding with plans to offer a third vaccine to people aged 12 and over with severely weakened immune systems. This is different to the booster programme which the government has said will be announced separately, expected to be later this month.
“We are now in a position to consider the draft Local Plan once again. You will recall that we carried out a comprehensive public consultation in 2020 as part of the Regulation 18 stage of the Local Plan process. The comments we received during that period were analysed and have helped shape this version of the draft Local Plan. Extraordinary Cabinet and Council meetings will be held on Wednesday 15th September and a decision made as to whether the draft Local Plan will be published for a seven-week period, the Regulation 19 stage. If agreed, the Plan would be published on 20th September. While this next stage would not be a formal consultation, anyone can still comment on the Plan and supplementary documents.
“If you are one of our garden waste collection customers, it is with regret that, due to the unprecedented national shortage of HGV drivers, we have been left with no option but to suspend this service for the foreseeable future. Letters are being sent to customers to confirm this and should be arriving imminently. We can only apologise, but the national situation is not expected to improve for some months. Please do sign-up to our MyAlerts service to receive the latest waste service news by email.
Alternatively, you can visit the Mole Valley section on the Joint Waste Solutions website, which will be regularly updated too.
“England’s largest festival of history and culture, Heritage Open Days, takes place from 10 to 19 September this year. This wonderful annual event provides a unique opportunity to see hidden places and try out new experiences, all for free. There are more than 40 in-person and online events for all ages taking place across Mole Valley, including talks, walks, tours and lots more. This year’s theme is ‘Edible England’ and the diverse line-up is reflected in the brochure listing for Mole Valley.”