All work on construction sites in the Highlands, unless it is strictly for essential projects, must stop immediately, as confirmed in new guidance for the construction industry.
The new guidance makes it clear that Highland construction projects must cease unless they are supporting crucial projects during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Any local project deemed essential can only continue operating if it can comply with guidance on social distancing, safety and welfare during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Any local site unable to meet these requirements must close.
For any avoidance of doubt, essential projects include:
those to create or repurpose facilities which will be used directly in COVID-19 related activities
projects to create or repurpose facilities which will be used to accommodate key workers, or free up space in facilities to be used directly in COVID-19 related activities
projects which are considered essential public services
the repair and maintenance of critical infrastructure
Highland MP Drew Hendry (pictured) said:
“I know many local construction companies have already closed down sites to safeguard their workers, and I hope this continues in the spirit of keeping everyone in our communities safe and to protect our NHS.
“Disappointingly, we are receiving reports that there are still a few non-essential construction sites in the Highlands which remain open.
“We all must do what we can to protect lives and I urge these businesses to consider the impact their actions are having on the wellbeing of their staff and our communities.
“These sites need to close unless they are essential to the health and welfare of the region and country during this health crisis.
“That issue aside, I want to take this time to personally thank all the construction workers who are continuing to work on essential projects, and to remind them of the safety measures they ought to follow to remain safe at work.
“The guidance offers clear and comprehensive advice on how the construction industry should respond in these unprecedented and difficult times.
“I am grateful to the STUC, Unite the Union and Construction Scotland for their input.
“During this public health emergency, it is crucial that businesses act responsibly and align fully with the social distancing measures introduced to protect our heath, well-being and economic future.
“There is financial and social assistance available for those who will be affected by these temporary closures and I ask that anyone who finds themselves requiring assistance at this time contacts me so that I can help.”