Coronavirus: Changes to council services

How our services are operating during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

The latest information regarding garden waste collection in Northumberland during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This information was last updated 27 March 2020.

We're pleased to confirm our teams will still be running a garden waste collection service from Monday 30 March.

Please put your bins out before 7am on your normal bin collection day. You can help us by thoroughly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after touching your bins - as well as applying social distancing rules - this is really important. 

Remember - bulky household waste collections are currently suspended, and we'll confirm alternative collection dates as soon as normal services are resumed. 
The latest information regarding bin collections and how the service is affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This information was last updated 26 March 2020

Our waste collection teams are still out and about, working to collect your normal household rubbish and recycling bins. We're also running our commercial waste service to businesses.

Please put your bins out before 7am on your normal collection day and, if they remain uncollected, take them back in. You can help by thoroughly washing your hands for at least 20 seconds before and after touching your bins. 

Please ensure that all contaminated waste is also double-bagged.

We will respond to advice from the government and Public Health England, and will keep residents informed of changes to our waste services. 

All 12 Northumberland Household Waste Recovery Centres are closed as of 8am 24th March 2020 until further notice.

If you suspect that someone has the Coronavirus, here is the government advice on what to do with their waste, and how to clean any areas where they have been:
The latest information about maintenance work carried out by the council and how this is operating during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This information was last updated 27 March 2020.

As we enter the warmer months we'll be continuing with our grass cutting to keep our county clean, green and safe. 
 
Remember - it's really important everyone sticks to the social distancing rules - so please keep away from our teams if you see them working - and we'll do likewise.
 
The grass cutting will continue for as long as we're able to. 
The latest information about our Northumberland Parks and how they are affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This information was last updated 25 March 2020

The council’s three main country parks which attract large numbers of tourists are now closed following the Government’s latest guidance on all non-essential travel.
 
The Country Parks at Bolam Lake, Plessey Woods and Druridge Bay, along with the car parks at these sites, will be closed to the public until further notice. 
 
Car parks at key tourism destinations along the Northumberland coast will also be closed. These include the car parks at:
  • Spittal, Berwick upon Tweed
  • Bamburgh
  • Holy Island
  • Seahouses
  • Craster
  • Beadnell
  • Newton Steads
  • Low Newton
  • Warkworth Beach Picnic Site
  • Amble Braid
  • Cresswell Dunes
  • Blyth Mermaid, Beachway and Ranch car parks
  • Fountain Head and Old Hartley car parks, Seaton Sluice
Urban country parks, parks and green spaces will remain open to enable local residents to exercise, but playgrounds will be closed, and all residents should strictly follow Government guidance on social distancing and gatherings. This will be kept under review and may be subject to further change, if required.
 
All public toilets in the county will also be closed until further notice.
The latest information regarding wedding Registration Services, in relation to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

This information was last updated 25 March 2020
COVID-19 - Important changes to Registration Services

Following the announcement by the government on Monday 23 March, please be advised that all ceremonies and notice of marriage appointments will NOT be taking place over the next three weeks. 
Couples who have ceremonies taking place within this period will be contacted by the Wedding Coordination Team with further information regarding their options.  
 
Should you have any queries in relation to your ceremony, or marriage and civil partnerships in general, please contact us by email at Alnwickreg@northumberland.gov.uk   Please be aware that we are dealing with a significant increase in call and email volumes as the current situation regarding Covid-19 evolves.  Your patience at this time would be greatly appreciated, and be assured that we will aim to respond to all emails within two working days of receipt. 
 
To keep up to date with developments, please follow Weddings In Northumberland on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram:
The latest information about applying for planning permission, in relation to the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

This information was last updated 25 March 2020.

Service continuity during COVID-19

We would encourage you to submit your applications online via the Planning Portal or by email rather than on paper during the COVID-19 outbreak. This ensures will be able to process your documents electronically whether we are based at Council offices or working from home. Please also provide an email address on the application form so we are able to correspond by email rather than post.

For access to the planning portal or to submit your application via email, please click here to see our 'How to apply' page.

At present we are unable to operate the duty planner call telephone service or the drop in at County Hall, Morpeth. All calls should be made to the customer service centre on 0345 600 6400 or directly to the relevant planning officer where possible (effective from 25 March 2020 until further notice).
 
The latest information regarding Household Waste Recovery Centres (HWRCs), also known as 'tips', during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Household Waste Recovery Centres - Service Updates

This information was last updated 24 March 2020. 

In light of government advice to stay at home and avoid all but essential travel, our provider Suez has advised that all Household Waste Recovery Centres (HWRCs) will close until further notice, from 24th March 2020. We ask all our residents to store their unwanted items until we are able to open the sites again. Thank you. 

Keep up to date with the latest library news here.

This information was last updated 23 March 2020.

All libraries will be closed to the public from 12 noon on Monday 23 March 2020. 

Following the Government’s advice in relation to further measures regarding social distancing, it’s important we protect both our residents and our staff. The council is now planning to restrict public access to our buildings from 12noon on Monday 23 March 2020.

We will now be moving our libraries service to a fully digital and online offer, with requests for books to be facilitated via community groups wherever possible, including assisting our most vulnerable residents e.g. large print requests etc. Libraries will also move to provide a telephone befriending service, including doorstep deliveries which our community fleet will assist with. We are also preparing further digital and online content, and supporting and helping to coordinate any community offering that is needed through a volunteer programme which we will announce details about over the coming days.
 
Customers can find a range of audio, ebooks and magazines via the BorrowBox and RB Digital apps, which can be downloaded from the library website - www.mylibrary.co.uk
 
We will keep you up to date on any developments, alternatively you can keep up to
date via our website www.mylibrary.co.uk or via social media:
The latest information about public access to Customer Service, Information Centres, and Registrars, in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19).

This information was last updated 23 March 2020.

Following the Government’s advice in relation to further measures regarding social distancing, it’s important we protect both our residents and our staff. The council is now planning to restrict public access to our buildings from 12 noon today, Monday 23 March 2020.

Customer Service, Information Centres and Registrars will move to a first point of contact being a digital recommendation. We will not have any front of house staffing and facilities, and will only offer a limited face to face service available at our sites if it is safely managed, by appointment only, and after a risk assessment deems it necessary to do so.  
 
The safest way for you to contact the council is via our website at www.northumberland.gov.uk/contact - You can also call us on 0345 600 6400 during office hours.

We now have dedicated #CoronaVirus section on our website dedicated to provide you with the information and updates on our services. Click here to view our coronavirus infromation and updates.

The latest information about schools in Northumberland affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This information was last updated 26 March 2020.

Northumberland Schools - service updates

  • Schools have been closed since Friday 20 March to all children except those with key worker parents or carers, and the most vulnerable children.
  • Key workers include NHS staff, police and delivery drivers who need to be able to go to work.
  • Vulnerable children include those who have a social worker and those with educational health and care plans.
  • Click here to view our news report, issued 18 March 2020.
Major changes have been announced for schools from the end of the school day on Friday 20 March and for the foreseeable future. If children can stay safely at home, they should, to limit the chance of the virus spreading. This is why the government has asked parents to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and has asked schools to remain open only for those children who absolutely need to attend.

It is important to underline that schools, all childcare settings (including early years settings, childminders and providers of childcare for school-age children), colleges and other educational establishments, remain safe places for children. But the fewer children making the journey to school, and the fewer children in educational settings, the lower the risk will be that the virus can spread and infect vulnerable individuals in wider society.

In line with Public Health England's guidance, the best place for your child, wherever possible, is at home with you, helping to maintain good social distancing for our wider community.
 
The government has confirmed that schools will close to all pupils except the children of key workers (such as NHS staff) and vulnerable children (such as those with a social worker and children with Education Health Care Plans) and published new guidance about who a key worker is. Please note, each school may handle this situation differently based on demand, in order to ensure the welfare of all staff, support workers, and children.

Click on the drop down boxes below to find the answers to some of your school related COVID-19 questions:

The vast majority of schools in Northumberland will remain open for the children of key workers or the most vulnerable children.

All schools are contacting parents and carers to understand how many children and young people will be attending school as from Monday 23rd March onwards. We are working with each of our schools to ensure that there is enough staffing in place to support and work with children and young people and that school meals will continue to be available. If your child receives transport to school from the council, then they will continue to do so.
 
If you are not clear on what is happening with your child, please get in touch with your school to find out more.
The guidance from government says that parents and carers should do everything they can to ensure children are not mixing socially in a way which can continue to spread the virus and should observe the same social distancing principles as adults.

Although your local school is likely to be open for vulnerable and key worker children, all other children must stay at home. If your child is not in this category and turns up at school on Monday, they will be sent home.
For any children currently entitled to school transport (who are children of key workers or the most vulnerable children), this will run as normal week. This will be continually reviewed.
 
If there are any issues with the school transport in the coming days please report it to the contact centre:
  • Telephone: 0345 600 6400
The latest guidance states that children are better off at home, however the vast majority of schools are remaining open to look after children of key workers and the most vulnerable children. 

There are no fines for parents, including key workers and parents of vulnerable children, who choose to keep their children at home during this period. This is a parental choice. 
There is concern around what provision is being put in place to ensure that children receiving free school meals do not suffer unnecessarily, now that the government has closed schools. 

The vast majority of schools in Northumberland are remaining open to look after children of key workers or the most vulnerable children. 

Schools were asked to identify their vulnerable students, so that the required level of support could be identified. 

All schools are making their own arrangements with the support of Northumberland County Council school meals service. We are currently working to better understand what the government voucher system will look like. 
This concern relates particularly to isolated communities with poor internet connections. 

Schools are reviewing methods of supporting students across the country. The vast majority have learning platforms and students/parents will be enabled to access these if they have Wi-Fi. If they do not, work can be printed and distributed to children and young people.

Both national and local resources are being shared for children to maintain learning. 
The latest information about Northumberland Archives and how this service is affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Archives - Service Updates

This information was last updated 19 March 2020.

To help protect public and staff the Northumberland Archives, study centres at both Woodhorn and Berwick will be closed from 20th March until further notice.

In line with government advice and the recommendations of our professional body regarding COVID-19, the public areas of the archive will not be open.

We will continue to answer emails and post on social media. Please check our twitter and FaceBook pages for updates.

As many staff will be working from home, we hope that researchers will understand that we can't offer our normal range of services. Response times might be a little longer than usual and we will be unable to provide copies of documents. We are very sorry for any disruption that this may cause. Thank you for your patience.

Although original documents aren't available at the moment, please do have a look at some our online resources:

The latest information about Museums Northumberland and how they are affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This information was last updated 17 March 2020

Due to the Government’s decision to move to the ‘delay phase’ in relation to the COVID-19 virus pandemic, Museums Northumberland has taken the following decision with regards to public access to their four museum sites.

Woodhorn Museum
Woodhorn Museum will remain open to the public until Sunday 22 March (unless the advice from Government changes before that time). We are currently exploring the possibility to keep the museum grounds open, whilst closing the buildings on site, after this date and will provide an update as soon as possible.

Whilst open to the public, enhanced cleaning services will be in operation at Woodhorn Museum.  To protect our staff and visitors everyone is advised to follow NHS advice and respect social distancing within the grounds. Facilities for all on site to wash their hands regularly are available.

Forthcoming events and all schools’ visits have either been cancelled or postponed to a later date.
We will continue to monitor the situation closely and follow the advice of health authorities and Government bodies.

Berwick Museum and Art Gallery  
The opening of Berwick Museum and Art Gallery for the summer season has been postponed until further notice.

Hexham Old Gaol
The opening of Hexham Old Gaol for the summer season has been postponed until further notice.

Morpeth Chantry Bagpipe Museum
Opening will be determined by the opening of the Chantry building. The Museum currently remains open and is not staffed. Groups who regularly use the space are discouraged from gathering and forthcoming events and performances will be cancelled or postponed until further notice.

We are monitoring this situation. Please check the website and our social media channels for the latest information and updates. Thank you for your understanding during this time.
The latest information about parking in Northumberland and how it is affected by Coronavirus (COVID-19).

This information was last updated 25 March 2020.

Car parks at some of the tourism destinations along the Northumberland coast are now closed, following the Government's latest guidcance on all non-essential travel and clear instruction that people should stay at home. 

This has been another difficult decision from the county council, but it comes after a small minority ignored the Government's national 'stay at home' advice and continued to visit some areas in numbers this week. 

The car parks that will close include:
  • Spittal, Berwick upon Tweed
  • Bamburgh
  • Holy Island
  • Seahouses
  • Craster
  • Beadnell
  • Newton Steads
  • Low Newton
  • Warkworth Beach Picnic Site
  • Amble Braid
  • Cresswell Dunes
  • Blyth Mermaid, Beachway and Ranch car parks
  • Fountain Head and Old Hartley car parks, Seaton Sluice
The latest information regarding pest control in Northumberland, and how this service is operating during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This information was last updated 26 March 2020.

Due to the recent pandemic, we are only able to make bookings for pests which pose a threat to public health. 
These pests include:
  • Rats and mice (both inside and outside)
  • Fleas and bedbugs (inside)
In the best interests of our customers and staff, we must close all other bookings. 
The latest information regarding the coroner's service in Northumberland, and how this service is operating during the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

This information was last updated 26 March 2020.

The Northumberland Coroner's Office remains open, however we are working remotely in response to the COVID-19 virus. 

All information concerning case referals, queries, and any other business should now be sent to our email address: This email address is monitored between 8am and 4pm (Monday to Friday) and we will respond as soon as possible.

Due to the circumstances, all hearings have been adjourned (postponed) until 28 August 2020, as the courts in Northumberland will be closed until then. The Coroner's Officers will be writing out to families on specific matters.

Where inquests are listed with no witnesses, the Coroner's Officers will contact families to check they are happy to go ahead without them in court, and for the evidence to be read under the provisions under Rule 23, so that the inquest can be concluded and families can register the death. 

If you would like to speak to one of the Coroner's Officers directly, they can be contacted on:
  • 07590 018923 (Michael Allen)
  • 07703 449776 (Karen Edger)
  • 07885 264757 (Keith Lamb)
  • 07899 065123 (David Webster)
The latest information regarding taxi licensing in Northumberland, and how this is impacted by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Important coronavirus update - Hackney carriage/Private hire licensing

Due to emergency steps being taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Northumberland County Council has introduced a simplified process for the renewal of driver and vehicle licences. This simplified process will remain in place until it is considered reasonable to return to standard operating procedures.

As a temporary measure, driver badges and vehicle plates will not be issued. Instead, an acknowledgement will be e-mailed to you. You must carry this with you whenever you are working in order to prove that you, or your vehicle, are still licensed.

Drivers
Currently drivers can only apply for a one-year licence. 
 
Under this process there is currently no requirement to produce a DBS check or medical certificate at this time. You will be required to submit further information once we are in a position to produce the licence. 

Vehicles
Under this process there is currently no requirement to produce a certificate of compliance at this time. You will be required to submit further information once we are in a position to produce the licence. 
 
At this current time Northumberland County Council cannot carry out any MOTs or compliance tests as all garages are closed. There is no requirement to submit the MOT due to the extension for MOTs that the Government has put in place as of 25 March 2020, however all vehicles must continue to have the appropriate insurance.
 
Unfortunately at the current time, no new applications will be accepted.

All contact with the licensing department must be made by e-mail:
The latest information regarding housing visits and repairs in Northumberland and how this service is affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

This information was last updated 27 March 2020.

Visits and repairs
In order to protect both our tenants and our housing staff from coming into contact with the Coronavirus, we will not be carrying out housing repair visits until further notice.
 
Only essential emergency repairs will be carried out. An emergency repair is an issue such as a major burst water pipe, or if you smell gas.
 
If you have no heating or hot water you need to check to see if your gas/electric meter has credit on it.
 
If you have a minor problem with your property this will be logged and addressed as soon as we are able.
 
As you can appreciate, Northumberland County Council is working very hard at this time to help vulnerable residents across the county.
 
If you have a genuine housing emergency please call  0345 600 6400.

Housing allocations
We will not be allocating council housing to new tenants during this time, unless it is for an emergency situation such as homelessness.