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Dear constituent

I am writing to you with a further update on the coronavirus crisis.

Firstly, I am pleased to say that the level of infection in our area has been dropping steadily over the past couple of weeks. The latest figures are here.

However I should also say that the level remains much higher than it was last autumn, and so we all still need to take great care. There is a way to go yet.

VACCINATION PROGRAMME

The vaccination programme continues to move ahead rapidly. I am very grateful to all of the local doctors, nurses and other medical staff, as well as all the volunteers who have made this possible. By now most local people over the age of 80 have been vaccinated as well as local health and social care staff. I know that a few over 80s have appointments this week, but hopefully by this time next week all of that age group will be done. Most of the over-70s have now got appointments as well. All of these groups are due to have been completed by the 15th and so if you are in these groups and have not got an appointment arranged by the start of next week, please let me know and I will try to help.

SOCIAL CARE AGENCY STAFF

I know that some agency social care staff have had some difficulty organising a vaccination. If you are affected by this, please let me know and I should be able to steer you in the right direction to get yourself sorted.

EUROPEAN HEALTH INSURANCE CARDS

I very much hope that the Prime Minister is right and that people are able to get away on holiday this summer. If you do head off to the continent, you might want to know that there is a replacement for the EHIC now available if your card has expired. UK-issued European Health Insurance Cards (EHICs) are still valid and offer the same cover as GHICs in the EU. To apply for a new GHIC, click here.

 

DONATE A LAPTOP

Thank you to everyone who responded to my email about laptops and computer equipment. The team at the Foodbank say that they have had a fantastic response so far. If anyone else has any relatively recent but now redundant laptops or tablets, please follow this link here.

WILDLIFE HABITATS

Finally on a different subject, you might like to know that a few months ago I asked Surrey County Council if it would consider expanding wildlife habitats on the farmland next to the roundabout by St Paul’s church Howell Hill. I am pleased to say that they have agreed to do this.

This is what they have said to me:

One area of special interest, the area you are referring to, is Northey Fields,  between Priest Hill and Howell Hill Nature Reserves. The area has been identified as a Site of Nature Conservation Importance for its arable weed flora. SCC will work with its tenant and partners to: extend Howell Hill Nature Reserve, increasing and improving the valuable chalk grassland area; leave the field boundaries uncultivated to encourage the spread of rare arable weed flora and  plant a new hedge and tree boundary to provide protection and create a valuable wildlife corridor between Howell Hill  Nature Reserve and Priest Hill Nature Reserve, significantly strengthening and expanding the existing ecological network.

The work has been delayed a little as a result of COVID, but hopefully we can soon start on the project in earnest.

I hope that will help provide additional protection for wildlife locally.

With best wishes

Chris Grayling