During these unprecedented times, St Helens Council is asking local people to help build community spirit and be considerate neighbours as part of the #Ready2Respect campaign.
Under the current restrictions, everyone is limited in their ability to get out and about, which means a great deal of people’s work, entertainment and relaxation has to be done at home. This can lead to increased strains on relationships with family, work colleagues and neighbours.
The #Ready2Respect campaigns asks residents and non-essential businesses to respect the lockdown restrictions, to flag up social distancing breaches and to report antisocial behaviour, such as off road vehicle use and deliberate fire setting, which see an increase normally at this time of year.
Already, the council’s Environmental Health team is receiving an increase in complaints from residents who are suffering additional, avoidable stress arising from the inconsiderate actions of a minority.
Excessive noise from neighbours’ televisions, music, DIY activities and barking dogs are just a few of the increasing complaints, as well as smoke from garden bonfires with some people burning household waste, which can be harmful to people with conditions like asthma and even COVID-19.
The Environmental Health team has a statutory duty to investigate noise complaints and, while methods of working have changed to factor in social distancing, this reporting service remains available to residents.
Officers are also still investigating reported flytipping, and increases in dog fouling and dog control issues, enforcing with fixed penalty notices.
Councillor Andy Bowden, Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, said: “Everyone of us is in the same position; worried about the implications of the spread of the pandemic, and frustrated by the inability to return to our normal way of life. Because of this, there has never been a more important time to do what we can to ensure everyone’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
“This is particularly relevant for those vulnerable members of the community, who have been required to self-isolate, or the invaluable key workers in essential services, such as those providing nursing or social care that are being called upon to work for extended periods during unsocial hours.
“There is so much good will in the community right now, as we’ve seen with our #StHelensTogether volunteering and crowdfunding campaign. Please consider this as you remain at home, respect your neighbours and be kind to one another.”
With the weather now improving and people looking to spend more time outside in their gardens, the council is offering tips and advice to help people through these exceptional times. Find out more at www.safersthelens.org.uk/pages/ready-2-respect/.
If you are concerned about noise, please contact St Helens Council’s Environmental Health team on 01744 676789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Antisocial behaviour can be reported to Merseyside Police on Twitter @MerPolCC or through Merseyside Police’s website www.merseyside.police.uk.
If you suspect a non-essential business is still operating, please report it to St Helens Trading Standards on 01744 676789 or email email@example.com.