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Coronavirus 2020: LDWA position


This page contains the LDWA's latest position on the Coronavirus outbreak

 

The NEC encourages members to review the Government advice relative to the nation in which they reside.

England:
https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

Wales:
https://gov.wales/coronavirus

Scotland:
https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-phase-3-staying-safe-and-protecting-others/

Northern Ireland:
https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/coronavirus-covid-19-overview-and-advice

The NEC will review the Government advice every Monday or sooner if necessary.
Please be aware that some older references below no longer apply and the links have been removed.
Please refer to
Toolkit for LDWA Officers for the latest FAQs and Guidance.

 

Posted 19 October 2020:


On 19 October 2020, First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that a national lockdown will commence in Wales at 6pm on Friday 23 October 2020 and will remain in place until Monday 9 November. The lockdown means that residents in Wales are barred from meeting any person who does not live with them, either in premises or outside. This restriction means that Local Group social walking cannot continue and all LDWA Local Group walks in the Principality are now suspended. This decision will be reviewed when further information is received from the Welsh Government.

Despite the tiered approach in England, organised sport is still possible within all three tiers and because the LDWA Executive has worked with Sport England to ensure that the activity of Local Group social walking is COVID safe, Local Groups can still walk socially. There are specific guidelines on what residents who live in Tiers 2 and 3 can and cannot do with regards to travel and members are reminded to ensure that they understand the restrictions prior to going on a Local Group social walk.

Please visit https://www.gov.uk/find-coronavirus-local-restrictions for further information.

In relation to Scotland, Local Group social walking is still possible because the LDWA Executive has worked with Sport Scotland to ensure that the activity of Local Group social walking is COVID safe. Please visit https://sportscotland.org.uk/covid-19/latest-sport-and-physical-activity-guidance/

David Morgan, LDWA Chair

 

Posted 23 September 2020:


The National Executive Committee (NEC) has reviewed the new regulations that were announced by the four UK nations on 22.09.20. In doing so, the NEC has liaised with Sport Scotland, Sport England and the Ramblers. Sport Wales do not provide a service in the same way as the other nations. The NEC has taken the decision to deal only with what is legally permissible. Walk leaders must be comfortable with leading social walks in accordance with the rules, delivery plan and risk assessment from the LDWA as well as local/national government guidance. This is due to the fact that the LDWA has 43 Local Groups and circumstances are different from group to group and attitudes will inevitably differ member by member. As a consequence of reviewing what can and can’t be done in each of the three nations in which the LDWA operates, the following applies:

England
Nothing has changed in relation to the rules, delivery plan and risk assessment that were provided by the NEC on 26.08.20. Consequently Local Groups may continue to provide a walks programme as long as it complies with the new rules provided by the LDWA. In summary, group walks where 7-30 people inclusive attend must have a delivery plan/risk assessment completed by the walk leader. With walks where 6 or fewer people attend there is no legal requirement to complete a delivery plan/risk assessment, but we do recommend you do.

Section 2.10 on the following link provides the clarity required that group walking can continue:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do/coronavirus-outbreak-faqs-what-you-can-and-cant-do

Scotland
Please note that the rules for LDWA group walking in Scotland have altered as a result of work undertaken by the NEC with Sport Scotland over the last three weeks. The revised rules, delivery plan and risk assessment have been posted on to the Local Groups toolkit.

Sport Scotland have confirmed they are happy with our approach on how to organise social walks and the new rules are similar to those in England, with the exception of having to nominate a Covid-19 officer (generally the walk leader). We are in the final stages on obtaining formal ratification on return from leave of a key member of staff within Sport Scotland.

As a result of our consultation, if a walk leader wishes to lead a group walk in Scotland with 16-30 attendees then the LDWA social walk delivery/risk assessment must be completed. With walks where a maximum of 15 people attend from 5 households or fewer attend there is no legal requirement to complete a delivery plan/risk assessment, but we recommend you do.

The risk assessment can be downloaded at:
https://ldwa.org.uk/website/downloads/toolkit/CONDENSED_COVID-19_Risk_Assessment-Delivery_Plan-Rules_V5_0.docx

Wales
In Wales the maximum number of people who can gather outside remains at 30. It is therefore legal to continue walking in groups of up to 30. However, the one comment made by First Minister Drakeford on 22.09.20 that is creating great debate in Wales is the statement that unnecessary journeys must not be made. First Minister Drakeford, when questioned at 12.30pm on 23.09.20 during his briefing to the Wales nation was asked about the meaning of what unnecessary journeys were. He advised people:
“Think sensibly and avoid doing things that add risk.”
“It was a common sense piece of advice.”
“He was just asking people to think about journeys they’re making.”
“He stated that the he wanted people to make safe judgements and that the unnecessary travel was not a regulation.”
There is no definition of what constitutes an unnecessary journey, no direction as to the maximum distance that is allowed to be travelled and the law currently allows people to continue making journeys of any distance.
The NEC recognises that walking in the outdoors is very good for people and is beneficial for both physical and mental health wellbeing. In addition walking in the outdoors is a relatively safe sport due to the fact that the LDWA rules require social distancing to be observed. As outlined above, the LDWA will only deal with the legal situation and as it is still legal to make any journey in Wales, group walks can continue with a maximum number of 30 attendees. However, Local Groups and members might wish to consider what travelling distance is appropriate for local walks due to the perception by others on the Local Group activity.
Risk assessments are still not legally required in Wales but are recommended due to the fact that if presented they demonstrate due diligence by the walk leader.

David Morgan, LDWA Chair

 

Posted 11 September 2020:

We would like to thank members for their understanding whilst we have sought advice on the Government's new guidance on groups of over six people meeting. We have spoken to other organisations, including the Ramblers and Government bodies, and we are content that we are exempt from the limit of six people, so organised social walks of a larger number (up to and including 30 people) can continue in England as per our existing rules and risk assessment.* Local groups and individual walk leaders may though wish to consider what they feel is appropriate for their area and what they're comfortable with as they are ultimately responsible for the group adhering to our rules. The limit of 6 people walking together in England remains though for when individuals meet privately or as friends, the 30-people limit is only for official LDWA social walks. As a reminder, it is a requirement that leaders of all social walks in England (of 7-30 people) complete risk assessments and ensure that the rules we have issued are followed. Also note that walk leaders should carry this documentation with them on walks. We will issue further updates if this guidance is amended.

*Sport England provides information and support here.

 

Posted 8 September 2020:

The NEC are aware of the latest news from the Government restricting group sizes in England to no more than six people from next Monday, 14 September 2020. We are seeking advice as to how this impacts group walking and we will issue an update in due course and as fast as we reasonably can once we have further details. Please do bear with us and we thank you for your understanding whilst we seek clarification.

 

Posted 26 August 2020:

Dear LDWA Colleagues,

I am pleased to advise you that, after consultation with Sport England, the LDWA Insurance Broker has read and accepted the LDWA's guidelines containing the principles and mitigating approaches which Local Groups must adopt for social walks in England with attendances of up to but not exceeding 30.

I hope you agree that this is exciting news and although it has taken some time and lots of work to get there, my NEC colleagues and I have worked hard to ensure we have engaged with groups in order to keep things as safe as we can for our members. It's absolutely vital that walk leaders understand they don't have to lead large group sizes and that they should only lead a group size that they're comfortable with. However, in England, if a walk leader wants to lead a group of more than six people, then they now need to complete a risk assessment. Some walk leaders may think that this is an administrative burden they don't want to go through, and although we understand this, we think that the attached risk assessment form is easy to complete, so please do encourage walk leaders to have a positive outlook on it. The risk assessment and rules document can also be read here.

It's important to understand that every walk leader needs to abide by the new rules when leading groups of more than 6 people in England. So, you'll need the walk leader to complete their risk assessment and, after the walk, the walk register will need uploading as well. You'll need the local group representative who uploads these to the national site to be primed and ready, as we'll need both these documents uploaded for each walk.

With the increased number of local lockdowns now taking place in the UK, it is absolutely vital that when the walk leader conducts the risk assessment, the question relating to whether the walk can take place within the local lockdown rules is answered. LDWA social walks can only be conducted if they abide by Government and/or local COVID rules.

So, with those two documents uploaded after the walk, the walk leader's work is done. We're really keen to get walks going where there are willing walk leaders so that members can get walking with their local groups once again.

When a social walk in England is led for no more than 6 people, including the walk leader, then the Risk Assessment is not specifically required, although it would be accepted good practice to use it to shape how a walk might be led during the COVID pandemic.

We're aware that members might have questions about why the new rules are required. We have answered some questions that we've already been asked and placed them here.

We've also updated the existing guidelines on how to lead a social walk to ensure that they take COVID into account. It's a really good idea for walk leaders to be sighted on the guidelines and they can be read here.

You might be interested to learn that Sport England read our risk assessment and guidelines and specifically commented on the need for inclusivity, so we'd like walk leaders to take this into account as well.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We know that this isn't an easy process, but we are very grateful for every social walk that can take place.

Regards,
David Morgan, LDWA Chair

 

Posted 3 August 2020:

National Executive Committee (NEC) Coronavirus sub-committee issued guidelines on 22 June 2020 to enable social walks to recommence in a limited capacity in England. Updated guidelines were issued on 3 August 2020 giving details for social walks in England and Scotland, and clarifying the position in Wales.

Since the earlier advice was published the NEC is aware that localised lockdown regulations can come into force at short notice and in small geographical locations. Local Groups and walk leaders should make themselves aware of any additional local restrictions that may be in force in their own or neighbouring areas. Walk leaders are also asked to be mindful of both the local environment and the possible concerns of the local population in areas where they are planning to walk.

The current guidelines outline that social walking can recommence across the UK but with differing numbers and social restrictions. In England, the maximum number of walkers on any social walk can still only be six and this must also include the walk leader. In Scotland, 15 individuals from a maximum of 5 households may meet together outside. In Wales, up to 30 individuals can meet outside socially and this must include the walk leader. As the four Governments' restrictions change the latest versions will be available to view at the links above.

Thank you for your continued patience and support
David Morgan, LDWA Chair

 

Posted 1 August 2020:

Please also refer to Social Walk Covid-19 FAQs for a guide to planning Covid Safe LDWA Local Group Walks.

 

Posted 25 July 2020:

National Executive Committee (NEC) Coronavirus sub-committee issued guidelines on 22 June 2020 to enable social walks to recommence in a limited capacity in England. Updated guidelines were issued on 25 July 2020 giving details for social walks in Wales and Scotland, and clarifying the position in England.

Since the earlier advice was published the NEC is aware that localised lockdown regulations can come into force at short notice and in small geographical locations. Local Groups and walk leaders should make themselves aware of any additional local restrictions that may be in force in their own or neighbouring areas. Walk leaders are also asked to be mindful of both the local environment and the possible concerns of the local population in areas where they are planning to walk.

The current guidelines outline that social walking can recommence across the UK but with differing numbers and social restrictions. In England, the maximum number of walkers on any social walk can still only be six and this must also include the walk leader. In Scotland, 15 individuals from a maximum of 5 households may meet together outside. In Wales, up to 30 individuals can meet outside socially IF a risk assessment is in place. (Please note that NEC is working with Local Group representatives on developing a simple risk assessment template for use as required). As the four Governments' restrictions change the latest versions will be available to view at the links above.

Thank you for your continued patience and support
David Morgan, LDWA Chair

 

Posted 17 July 2020:

Following meetings of the Coronavirus sub-committee on 29 June, 6 July and 13 July, the message dated 19 June 2020 from LDWA Chair, David Morgan and the Guidance on Social Walks from NEC remain unchanged.

 

Posted 19 June 2020:

After three months of lockdown across the United Kingdom, I am pleased to advise you that the National Executive Committee (NEC) Coronavirus sub-committee has drafted guidelines that will enable social walks to recommence in a limited capacity. The sub-committee has reviewed the guidance provided by the four UK Governments on a weekly basis and has taken the different restrictions in different nations into account when compiling the attached guidelines. It’s also important to note that the four Governments’ restrictions are under constant review and the sub-committee will review any further changes that might see social walking expanded.

The current guidelines outline that social walking can recommence in England but not Wales or Scotland at this time. In addition, the maximum number of walkers on any social walk can only be six and this must also include the walk leader. As the four Governments’ restrictions are eased the guidelines will be amended and updated versions provided to you.

The guidelines have been shared with the LDWA Insurer who has expressed confidence in the guidelines as they reflect the requirements of the four UK Governments.

Whilst we would all like to see life return to normality, we have to adapt according to the restrictions that have been placed upon us for the wider public health of the nation. I therefore hope that you embrace the new guidelines in the spirit in which they have been written. The NEC recognises that the guidelines will not provide the optimum social walking experience but suggests that this is a small step towards recapturing what has been lost to many of our members due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Thank you for your patience and support.
Yours sincerely,
David Morgan, LDWA Chair

 

Posted 29 May 2020:

The LDWA NEC COVID-19 sub-committee has reviewed the latest Government guidance relating to Scotland and England (issued on 28 May) and to Wales (issued on 29 May).

The NEC reviewed the position that now allows 6 people in England to meet, but due to the need to still maintain safety in relation to social distancing and in the interest of fairness to all members who might wish to attend a group social walk, the NEC has concluded that LDWA social walks in England cannot commence at this time.

Please be reassured that the NEC is considering how to mitigate the associated risks and is considering when social walks and challenge events might be allowed to resume. These are difficult times for all involved in the LDWA and the NEC is acutely aware of the distress that a loss of LDWA activities is causing for many of our members. We are grateful for your continued patience.

 

Posted 19 May 2020:

The National Executive Committee (NEC) Coronavirus sub-committee monitors the guidance provided by the Governments of England (UK), Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and meets every Monday to review the advice provided to LDWA members.

It appears to be the case that LDWA activities are going to have to adhere to a ‘new normal’ in the short, medium and perhaps long term. In order to protect the very good reputation that the LDWA has developed over many years both at a national level and in the local communities in which it operates, the NEC will consider various aspects relating to our activities. This will include things like social distancing, food hygiene, car parking, meeting places and even the width of paths that we walk on.

Please be reassured that the NEC is considering how to mitigate the associated risks and is considering when social walks and challenge events might be allowed to resume. These are difficult times for all involved in the LDWA and the NEC is acutely aware of the distress that a loss of LDWA activities is causing for many of our members. We are grateful for your continued patience.

 

Posted 10 May 2020:

Following the briefing by the Prime Minister on 10 May 2020, the NEC has reviewed the advice that has been provided and in relation to LDWA activities, the NEC has concluded that nothing will alter. All LDWA activities will therefore remain suspended for the foreseeable future.

The NEC encourages members to review the Government advice relative to the nation in which they reside as there are now differing guidelines for each of the four nations.

 

Posted 24 March 2020:

The LDWA has continued to monitor Her Majesty's Government advice in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. All challenge events, social walks and other formal LDWA business organised by any of the local groups have been cancelled until further notice.

On 23 March, the Prime Minister issued a statement ordering everyone to stay at home with a limited number of exceptions. It included instructions about exercise. Full details can be found at www.gov.uk/coronavirus.

We hope that everybody in the LDWA understands the seriousness that the United Kingdom finds itself in and urges all members to be responsible.

 

Posted 16 March 2020:

The LDWA has continued to monitor Her Majesty's Government advice in relation to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Following a change to the Government advice on 16 March, the LDWA National Executive Committee has decided that all challenge events, social walks and other formal LDWA business organised by any of the local groups will be cancelled immediately. The ban will be reviewed by the National Executive Committee weekly or when Government advice alters and any subsequent amendments will be communicated.

The National Executive Committee understands that the decision taken to cancel all challenge events and social walks will be concerning to members. The safety of all our members, whether they are volunteer marshals or entrants and the association's ability to deliver a safe environment for all was the reason that the decision has been taken. The Government has advised that everyone should avoid non-essential travel and reduce contact with others in order to slow the spread of the virus. Walking socially would undermine the Government's advice in relation to both non-essential travel and socialisation.

A decision as to what will happen to Y 100 Sir Fynwy in the future will take place in consultation with the National Executive Committee and the committees of all other planned 100 mile challenge walks. Now that the clause in Rule 7.1 has been invoked, entrants can expect to hear more once a wider consultation has taken place with other stakeholders.

A bulk email will be sent to all local group representatives within the next 48 hours outlining the actions that they must take with details of support that the National Executive Committee can offer during the period in question.

 

Posted 5 March 2020:

The Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) has been monitoring the news in relation to the world outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19). In addition, the LDWA is monitoring the UK Government advice and will act responsibly based on the advice provided. There are currently no plans to cancel any of its gatherings including the AGM or annual 100 mile walk challenge event but if Government advice changes then the LDWA plans will be reviewed and advice provided to the 43 geographical groups and membership.

 

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