It never rains but it pours – literally. Flash floods across the county this week have served as a reminder that while we’re tackling new challenges brought about by coronavirus, old challenges – like the impact of the great British weather on our roads – don’t go away.
Thanks not only to our highways and emergency planning teams who were quick to respond to issues brought about by heavy rainfall this week but all of you as you continue to rise to the challenge of whatever is thrown at us, whether it’s familiar territory or finding solutions to new problems as a result of the pandemic.
One such issue we’ve been dealing with is how to adapt our town centres to safely welcome back shoppers and help kick-start our local economy again.
This has been a huge piece of work involving most teams across highways – in traffic and safety, and design and construction. We've also been working closely with district and borough councils and our communications team has run a Facebook advertising campaign to promote safe shopping messages to residents.
Changes are being made to more than 40 towns and villages across Derbyshire including putting up signs to remind people about social distancing, closing roads or making them one-way so pavements could be made wider and creating a safe cycling route to Chesterfield Royal Hospital for staff and visitors by closing Crow Lane to traffic.
There’s still more work to do over the coming weeks but I’d like to the take this opportunity to give my thanks to everyone who has been involved.
One challenge we must not lose sight of is tackling climate change. Before the pandemic hit, we were working hard to reduce our own emissions and find ways of supporting our communities to do the same. But coronavirus has forced our hand and led us to a whole new way of working – which a year ago we couldn’t have imagined.
Working from home has its challenges but also benefits in terms of reducing staff travel. And while ‘video-conferencing’ once seemed like a highly-technical process often too difficult and time-consuming to arrange, “I’ll Skype you” has become everyday language for most of us – removing the need to travel for meetings.
It’s important that we hold on to these new ways of working in the future and look for more for the benefit of our environment.