Chester Zoo’s social distancing measures revealed

Chester Zoo has revealed details of the social distancing measures they’ll have in place whenever the zoo is able to reopen as coronavirus lockdown measures are eased.

These include self-scan ticket lanes, hand sanitiser points, floor markings and barriers to stop people making contact with the glass on animal enclosures.

Chester Zoo’s Chief Operating Officer Jamie Christon released this statement: “Chester Zoo remains closed but we hope to reopen our gates again soon. When exactly that will be, we don’t yet know, but we’re busy making a whole host of changes to ensure that when the times comes, and when the government makes it possible for us to do so, we’ll be ready to welcome visitors back safely. When we do reopen, it’ll be at the right time.

“The first thing people will notice is that things look a little different. That’s because our teams have been working hard to install an array of new, physical safety measures.

“These include self-scanning ticket lanes, floor markings to clearly indicate two-metre distances, multiple hand sanitisation points, a huge amount of signage and protective screens in all of our key locations and service areas.

“The zoo is, of course, a huge 128-acre site but still, you’ll also notice fewer people than before. We’re going to be heavily limiting visitor numbers each day and every single visitor, and member, must book online. A new area of our website has been specially built to facilitate this.

“There are a raft of other things happening too. All our indoor animal habitats will remain closed, as will our restaurants and cafes, but our outdoor food and drink kiosks will be open and we’ve added more outdoor picnic areas, while lots of fully trained staff will be dotted around to ensure people keep well apart. Hard surfaces, such as touchscreen computers and cash machines will be covered and out of use, and viewing windows will have one-metre standoff markings around them, again to prevent touching. Stringent deep cleaning will also be ongoing.

“There’s no hiding from the fact that these times are tough for us. Visitor revenue is absolutely critical; it makes up about 97% of our income.

“Unlike many other charities and organisations which are able to limit their outgoings, the zoo still has incredibly high costs to ensure that each and every one of the 35,000 animals here receives the exact same level of care and attention they are accustomed to. It costs £465K per month to look after all of the animals and plants – that covers feed, bedding, the wages of the animal care staff, heating animal houses and much more besides. Being unable to open and welcome any guests at all for so long now means we’ve been having to do this with little coming in.

“We have though said many times throughout this crisis that we will beat this, we will bounce back and we won’t ever stop our fight to prevent extinction. As ever, we are incredibly grateful to all of our staff, our members, our visitors and our vast support network for helping to protect our fantastic organisation through this. Thank you. Thank you so, so much.

“Will a trip to Chester Zoo be the same as before? No. Will it still have that Chester Zoo magic? You bet it will!
Stay safe and hopefully, we’ll see you soon.”


Snowdon Mountain Railway is buying ‘greener’ hybrid trains

Snowdon Mountain Railway will introduce new hybrid diesel locomotives from May 2020, in time for the busy summer season.

Heritage Great Britain, the operator of Britain’s only rack railway, has invested £1.1 million to purchase the locomotives, which will run alongside the existing steam and diesel trains. The company has made a commitment to reducing their carbon footprint: “without impacting the hugely popular tourist experience.”

The new locomotives will be driven by “maintenance-free” electric motors, powered on the ascent by battery backed up with a ‘Euro 5 standard’ diesel generator – much more efficient and far lower in emissions than their existing diesel fleet.

When descending the mountain, the diesel generator will be switched off, while energy generated from braking recharges the battery, ready for the next ascent.

Mike Robertshaw, Senior Engineering Manager at Snowdon Mountain Railway, said in a statement: “We are extremely proud of the development of our new Hybrid Diesel Locomotives. This is a significant investment in new technology which will not only allow us to carry more passengers but also allow us to help the environment. This is just the beginning of further investment in Snowdon Mountain Railway as we make it sustainable for the years ahead.  It’s an exciting time for us all.”

The locomotives were purchased from Clayton Equipment Ltd and delivered only nine months from the order being placed.

Image by LeoRijnja from Pixabay


New water refill points installed on the Angelsey coast

Angelsey County Council and Natural Resources Wales have installed two new water refill points at locations along the Angelsey Coast Park, at Newborough Forest and Holyhead Breakwater Country Park.

The taps are fed with water from the nearby Llyn Alaw reservoir and have been added to the Refill app, which now features over 20,000 locations in Britain where water bottles can be refilled for free.

Water points are located near the toilet block at Newborough and outside the toilet block and cafe at Holyhead Breakwater.

The North Wales Chronicle reported Project officer, Alun M Owen, said: “As well as our successful partnership with NRW, further funding has been secured via Welsh Government to extend the project within communities linked to the coastal path.

“Meetings are underway with Town and Community Councils to install water dispensers at strategic locations combined with information boards to highlight the benefits of drinking local tap water and encourage the use of refillable bottles. All new sites will be added to the Refill App ‘put your tap on the map’.”