Column by Doina Cornell, leader of Stroud District Council.

It feels as if the work of the council has entered a ‘strange new normal’ but there is still a continuity with work that was going on before.

Despite some reduced capacity and the obvious restrictions on site visits, officers are still working on planning applications, enforcement and building control.

We’re coordinating with our colleagues from the other Gloucestershire local authorities to get online meetings for councillors up and running as soon as possible, for example for any urgent or important planning applications, so sorting out a safe and publicly accessible system is a priority.

This week Stroud District Council sent a letter to every household in the district as part of our comprehensive response to help everyone through the Coronavirus pandemic.

People who need help now or in the future, and those who want to help, can find out how to access what they need, and the letter contains useful advice.

The Environmental Health Service has had calls from residents concerned about garden bonfires. Burning waste and having more smoke in the air isn’t good, especially at a time when people may already be suffering breathing difficulties due to the Coronavirus so do please be considerate of your neighbours.

More information can be found on the website: Stroud.Gov.Uk/Environment/Environmental-Health/Pollution-And-Nuisance/Bonfires-And-Smoke-Smoke-Control

The County Council is keeping the recycling centres closed for the moment, and there have also been worries about fly-tipping going up, but it seems reported numbers in the district are lower than at this time last year. If you need a licensed waste carrier, the Environment Agency publishes a list:

The lockdown has led to less road traffic, so air pollution levels have dropped.