Veolia supports social distancing initiative in central London

Waste management company Veolia, Heart of London Business Alliance (HOLBA) and New West End Company (NWEC) are launching an initiative which will see the introduction of 15 Social Distancing Ambassadors (SDAs) to ensure London’s West End shopping district is reopened safely.

The initiative will provide customers with three months of ‘targeted hygiene and social distancing guidance’. 34 hand sanitising stations have been installed at Oxford Street, Bond Street, Regent Street and Picadilly. The SDAs will man and refill these stations seven days a week.

Member of the public using a NWEC hand sanitising station in Oxford Circus
Member of the public using a NWEC hand sanitising station in Oxford Circus
The SDAs will also be responsible for monitoring social distancing protocols in shop queues and busy streets, handing out protective masks and gloves, and providing advice on how to safely dispose of protective equipment so that it doesn’t contaminate on-street recycling.

Public Health England (PHE) advice states that gloves and masks should be placed in general waste rather than recycling bins, and users should ensure that any potentially contaminated items should be double bagged and set aside for 72 hours before being placed in an external general waste bin.

Similar guidelines were issued by the Environment Agency, which released a regulatory position statement in April on the disposal of personal protective equipment (PPE) from healthcare workers treating patients in their own homes, allowing the disposal of PPE through the householder’s normal residual waste collection, provided they follow PHE guidance for disposal.

The SDA roles have been filled by Westminster locals through Westminster City Council’s recruitment service, which finds sustainable workplace opportunities for young people, the long-term unemployed and those from vulnerable backgrounds. The SDAs have been provided with specialised safety training to safeguard them while they help protect the safety of others.

Senior Contract Manager for Veolia in Westminster, Helder Branco, said: “The SDAs initiative is in line with the ongoing commitments of our street cleansing and collections teams to ensure the streets of Westminster are always clean and safe.

“Working with Heart of London Business Alliance and New West End Company, we recognised that delivering the safe reopening of the West End – one of the most visited locations in the UK – required a unique plan that puts public health at the forefront. I hope that the highly visible SDA staff and stations will remind people of the need to remain vigilant while in public and to always keep their hands clean.”

Dee Corsi, Chief Operating Officer at New West End Company, added: “The safety of those returning to the West End is of paramount importance to us, and over the past few months, we have been working closely with our partners at Veolia, Westminster City Council and Transport for London to ensure that the district is in the best possible position to welcome colleagues and customers back safely. The SDAs will provide a much needed reassurance to the public as more people return to the West End over the coming months.”

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