We mentioned in our News Update of 30 April that “construction sites were going to be allowed to temporarily extend their hours of operation” and this was confirmed yesterday evening by Robert Jenrick, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
He announced that, between Mondays and Saturdays, building sites in England will be able to operate until 9pm in residential areas, and for longer in non-residential areas. His written Ministerial Statement outlines the details and reasoning behind this change and confirms that these conditions “should not extend beyond 13 May 2021 …will be reviewed when the requirement for social distancing on construction sites diminishes.”
Although permission for the extension of working hours still has to be approved by local planning authorities, Mr Jenrick tells Councils in his statement not to “refuse these requests” and there was the suggestion that in some situations this could include allowing 24 hour working in order to make up for lost time during the coronavirus lockdown. He also suggests that by having longer or flexible working hours, it will be easier for workers “to facilitate social distancing in the wider community” adding that this will “reduce pressure on public transport”.
There is clearly a need to get the economy moving again, and these measures will hopefully be the start of this. Let us hope that construction workers are able to keep up with the demands of longer hours and that local authorities are able keep noise pollution to an acceptable level for residents.