Due to COVID-19 restrictions, NPMS surveys had been disrupted with partial suspension for the first half of the season.
However, now with travel restrictions lifted in Wales and Scotland and surveys in N. Ireland able to resume from July, we are pleased to say that all volunteers nationwide can now continue to survey, so long as they follow all government guidance in their geographic region and local area regarding outdoor activities and travel.
Please consider that local and regional guidance may change in response to local outbreaks and be sure to check appropriate guidance for your area before commencing any surveys.
Avoid public transport wherever possible. Please also note and abide by the relevant country level restrictions in place on meeting up with others and the use and sharing of equipment, whilst maintaining social distancing and appropriate health and safety procedures at all times (see points to consider below).
If you are considering resuming your volunteering activity as a surveyor with the National Plant Monitoring Scheme these are things you may need to think about:
- Check government guidance and remember that if you are required to self-isolate (e.g. due to you or a household member having COVID-19 symptoms) you should not be leaving your house.
- Consider the distance you are travelling to your square and how you are travelling to your square. Can social distancing be maintained?
- Consider where your square is. Is it a nature reserve or other area that may be closed still or are there car parking restrictions?
- Do you need to seek permission from landowners to restart? This should be renewed, even if you have received permission previously.
- What about your health and safety whilst surveying? Do people know where you are? What would you do in case of emergency?
- Can you maintain social distancing whilst surveying?
- Have you considered general control measures to reduce risk –https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/staying-safe-outside-your-home/staying-safe-outside-your-home.
The health of our volunteers is very important to us, as are our relationships with the landowners who so generously allow us onto their land. Please be sensitive to the feelings of landowners and your impact on local communities at this time. Give houses, farm buildings, vehicles and people a wide berth. Help foster good relationships with local communities for the future. Always ensure that you have appropriate and up to date landowner permission to visit.
No volunteer should feel under pressure to carry out fieldwork if they do not feel comfortable doing so, or if they are concerned about the impacts of carrying out survey work on relations with landowners or other members of the public.
Links to the latest advice and guidance from your appropriate country administration: