UV Cleaning Robots Part Of Heathrow Airport’s Plan To Make Travel Safer

In a bid to instill confidence in passengers Heathrow Airport has deployed UV cleaning robots across its site. With travel corridor exemptions opening up the possibility of increased travel the airport wants to make sure passengers feel as safe as possible when using their services. A carefully thought-out plan has been constructed by the airport that combines stringent cleaning measures with technology to minimise the risk of COVID 19.

A spokesperson for Heathrow commented on how the robots would operate with ultraviolet rays being used to, “efficiently kill all viruses and bacteria.” [1] The number of robots set to be deployed is yet to be revealed but it’s thought they will operate in every section of the airport. The company has also introduced a wide range of cleaning measures to ensure passenger safety and reduce the risk of transmission. UV handrail technology will be deployed on all escalators and will act as a continuous disinfection system for hands. Services that are likely to be touched including door handles, trolleys and lift-buttons will all be fitted with self-cleaning antiviral wraps. To raise awareness of COVID 19 protocols the airport has also formed teams of hygiene-technicians who will be on hand to answer any questions and disinfect services. These teams will be responsible for providing feedback on the new measures being rolled out and the effect they have on passengers.

With travel set to increase Heathrow is determined to provide a safe environment for its colleagues and customers and the measures are effective immediately. While some countries are still excluded from the corridor exemption list the airport is looking to the future when travel fully resumes.

© Whitestone Chambers


Face Coverings; Mandatory In All UK Shops

The world has seen a sweeping change in the way we interact with one another and go about our daily activities. Since June 15th face coverings have been made mandatory on all public transport and this measure is soon set to evolve. With Britain opening up again, the government has announced that face coverings will be mandatory in all shops from the 24th July. The measure comes into force with the hopes of instilling more confidence and security in high-street shoppers and preventing a potential second wave.

Germany, Spain and Italy have already enforced such rules and the UK looks set to follow suit. The police will be working in conjunction with the government to enforce the guidance and ensure compliance. Those who refuse to wear a mask without a reasonable excuse can face a fine of up to £100 however there are exemptions. As on transport children under 11 and people with disabilities will not be required to wear coverings in shops. An updated and complete list of those exempt can be found on the government website.[1] Though the rule will help be enforced by police there is a need for general compliance and the public are expected to do their part.

With the 24th July more than a week away the PM and government are facing criticism over their delayed response to the use of coverings in shops. After guidance was issued that masks should be worn in crowded and public places, many have criticised the government for not taking action soon enough. Jonathan Ashworth, shadow health secretary, highlighted the need for faster and more decisive action from the government in a statement. “Many will ask why yet again have ministers been slow in making a decision in this pandemic”.[2] There is also concern over how the public will respond to the new measure. Though nearly half of Britain have reported wearing a mask in July[3] there are still those who find the measures to be an infringement on freedom and face coverings to be uncomfortable. Far from the government’s hope of getting more people back to the high-street, the measure could potentially see a decrease in customers with online shopping a much more comfortable option. Some have also seen the enforcement as a recognition of the danger of the virus and feel less inclined to go out and shop than they used to.

With the potential of a second wave looming the measure doesn’t seem unreasonable. We as a society are starting to adapt to a new normal and it’s only by doing this that we will be able to move forward and kickstart the economy again.

© Whitestone Chambers





Airbus Mission To Decarbonise Air Travel

Airbus has long been an advocate of using cleaner fuel in the aviation industry. During April the company was set to trial a jet run by hybrid electric engines but the plan was stopped early by the COVID crisis. With many airlines facing economic damage and a cut in employees the French government have introduced a plan to safeguard the aviation industry and have already provided €15bn to the sector.[1] As part of the deal the government wants to see more environmentally friendly jets being created. Biofuels and hydrogen are the current consideration but companies like Airbus are also looking into electric powered flights. The government’s goal is to have a fully carbon-neutral aircraft by 2035 alongside an electric powered jet by 2029.

CEO Guillaume Faury responded positively to the scheme and is set to deploy new technologies to meet the goal. Insisting that Airbus is, “committed to developing sustainable flight,”[2] Faury sees hydrogen as one of the most viable options for the company to work with. Creating fleets powered entirely by biofuels, however, is not an easy task. Despite Faury’s claims that hydrogen is, “one of the most promising technologies available,”[3] there are still concerns over hydrogen’s power in aviation. Though its power to weight ratio makes it a better option than electric-power, there is concern that redesigning aircrafts for this reason will make it infeasible for long-haul flights. AN EU backed study [4] also concluded that hydrogen alone will have little impact on decarbonisation efforts unless paired with new technologies across fleets.

Air travel accounts for up to 2.4%[5] of CO2 emissions globally and though COVID 19 has caused a temporary decrease in air traffic this is likely to rise. With travel corridor exemptions being reduced more and more people are going to start travelling again. Lockdown was only a temporary respite from carbon emissions and it is only with cleaner fuel options that we can reduce these emissions consistently.

© 2020 Whitestone Chambers

[1] https://www.euractiv.com/section/aerospace/news/airbus-ponders-hydrogens-flying-future/

[2] https://www.euractiv.com/section/aerospace/news/airbus-ponders-hydrogens-flying-future/

[3] https://www.euractiv.com/section/aerospace/news/airbus-ponders-hydrogens-flying-future/

[4]https://www.euractiv.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2020/06/20200507_Hydrogen-Powered-  Aviation-report_FINAL-web-ID-8706035.pdf



HMCTS All Hands to the Pump: Court Recovery Plan

The COVID 19 crisis has called for a change in the way businesses operate and the legal sector has had to undergo many changes to adapt to the current situation. After the initial emergency response to the pandemic in March/April HMCTS has moved into phase 3 which focuses on recovering operations. In an, “all hands to the pump,”[1] response Lord Chancellor Buckland has outlined plans are underway for recovery. Despite the move towards resuscitation the measures outlined have raised many questions and stirred controversy amongst those in the legal sector.

Included within the recovery plan are a range of measures to be used across various jurisdictions to ease damage caused by the pandemic. There is a focus on the need for continued social distancing and so some hearings will still be held virtually but with an increase in the backlog of cases there is a need to reopen all tribunals that have been closed off. With plans to reopen all sites by July HMCTS has proposed using alternative sites nicknamed, “Blackstone courts,”[2] in an effort to catch up with cases that have been backlogged. Sites up for consideration include council-run facilities and conference areas with existing sites set to undergo intense screening measures to ensure physical modifications are in place to protect staff and clients. Lord Chancellor Buckland has also said, “a renewal for justice,”[4] for courts can only be achieved with a move towards better technology systems. HMCTS has outlined this move in their recovery plan with an increased focus on having courts increase the use of audio and video technology to tailor to new types of hearings.

Where the controversy lies, however, is in, “all hands to the pump,” recovery measures that include additional court hours for staff and proposals to remove juries from either-way trials. Lawyers are under intense pressure and regular working hours already fall into weekends and extended hours. Some have pointed to the recovery plan as being sparse in detail and not taking into consideration the burden it will cause to staff and parties involved in cases. Simon Davis, President of the Law Society, has been critical of the move to increase hours and commented, “ extended working hours for already beleaguered judges, practitioners and court staff needs to be treated with utmost caution.” [5] Davis has recommended a reconsideration of the move suggesting that focus should first be on ensuring normal court hours are being maximised and that there are no restrictions on judges sitting. HMCTS has already come under scrutiny following its proposal to replace removed juries with a single judge and two magistrates. There are reports circulating that the proposal could be dropped after the opposition it has faced from those in the legal profession.

In response to the backlash Lord Chancellor Buckland has declared that the crisis, “demands a new perspective on the way we deliver justice.”[6] It’s clear the justice system needs to evolve to meet the current demands of the pandemic but are some measures too unpalatable for the legal profession to accept?

© 2020 Whitestone Chambers







Focus On Your Well-being; Five Simple Ways To Destress

A recent survey shows that eight out of 10 Britons want the government to focus more on wellbeing than economic growth during the COVID 19 crisis [1] With this in mind we’ve compiled a list of simple things you can do each day to destress and work towards making your well-being a top priority.

Carve out “me time”

With schools shut until September and new work routines there has never been a more needed time for “me time.” If you live with your family or partner then tensions have likely built during the lock-down. Hectic work schedules, daily home-schooling and pandemic worries will all make home life more stressful. Make a point of having your own alone time where you can let go, refocus and destress. Whether that means doing nothing or taking up an old hobby like painting it all makes a difference. Taking time away from your busy schedule and thoughts will help reset your mind and make you sharper for your next task.

Make moving a priority

Gyms may still be closed but that doesn’t mean you should let your fitness slide. Aside from the obvious physical benefits staying active will aid your sleep, improve digestion and lift your mood. With summer approaching it’s a perfect time to hit the pavement and catch up on your step count. It’s not a one size fits all approach; choose an activity that you enjoy.

Live in the present

It’s such a simple concept but so few people do it! Unplug yourself from worries of the future and focus on the now. This is especially important during our current situation when we are constantly being bombarded with bad news. The situation is so delicate that we face uncertainty every hour. Focusing on what could happen or what might come into place will not make the situation better. Snap yourself out of this habit by working on yourself. Focus your time and energy into something that is actually tangible. Take up running and start working towards a 5k or enter that writing competition.

Be mindful of what you eat

It’s easy to eat without thinking, especially since we’ve spent the last couple of months in lockdown. The stress of the current situation coupled with more time at home can lead to unhealthier eating habits. You don’t have to restrict yourself but become more mindful of what you put into your body. Try swapping sugary or high-salt content foods with more nutritious snacks like carrots with hummus and fresh fruit. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself but moderation is key.

If you need help – ask for it

If you are struggling and need extra help or advice don’t be afraid to ask for it. Knowing when to reach out is a sign that you’re making your well-being a top priority. There are so many services out there that are free and confidential. The NHS has a whole page dedicated to support services that offers more information on who to seek for help.[2]



Latest Air Bridge News; What It Means For Your Holiday Plans

The UK is currently entering its third phase and many non-essential businesses are set to reopen on the 4th of July. With the country easing some of its restrictions Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary, has announced that, “the government will begin to ease health measures at the UK border.” Up until now a 14 day isolation period had been imposed by the government for those entering the country. The latest news from the Foreign Office is set to change that with the UK starting to lift its ban on non-essential travel by introducing travel corridor exemption for some countries.

Drawn up by the country’s leading scientists, the decision to form air bridge deals and open up borders is being closely monitored and based on current statistics. From the 10th of July onwards you will be allowed to travel or return from the countries that have travel corridor exemptions without having to quarantine for 14 days. This will cover all modes of transport including train, ferry and air travel. Government guidance is to stay updated on the coronavirus regulations in other countries as they may have different requirements to the UK. Upon arrival in the UK you will be asked to fill out a passenger locator form which will help in the recent track and trace scheme. Countries that currently have travel corridor exemptions include:
• Andorra
• Antigua & Barbuda
• Aruba
• Australia
• Austria
• Bahamas
• Barbados
• Belgium
• Bonaire, Sint Eustatius & Saba
• Croatia
• Curacao
• Cyprus
• Czech Republic
• Denmark
• Dominica
• Faroe Islands
• Fiji
• Finland
• France
• French Polynesia
• New Caldeonia
• Netherlands
• Monaco
• Mauritius
• Malta
• Macau
• Luxembourg
• Lithuania
• Liechtenstein
• Japan
• Jamaica
• Italy
• Iceland
• Hungary
• Hong Kong
• Guadeloupe
• Grenada
• Greenland
• Greece
• Germany
• New Zealand
• Norway
• Poland
• Reunion
• San Marino
• Serbia
• Seychelles
• South Korea
• Spain
• St Barthelemy
• St Kitts and Nevis
• St Pierre and Miquelon
• Switzerland
• Taiwan
• Trinidad & Tobago
• Turkey
• Vatican City
• Vietnam

Ireland, The Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are also exempt and so are the 14 British Overseas Territories. This list is subject to change and will be kept under constant review in line with the current situation.

© 2020 Whitestone Chambers

What Holidays Could Look Like Under The New Normal

COVID 19 has ushered in a period of change that has brought about the concept of a new normal. Our schools, our shopping and even the way we interact with one another has been greatly altered. We’ve had to get used to a new way of living during the pandemic and it’s likely that social distancing will remain with us for years to come. England is currently preparing to enter into phase 3 and by the 4th July many non-essential businesses in the hospitality sector will open up again. As we begin to move forward our world will have to become accustomed to a new normal. What will holidays in the future look like and what can you expect?

With no vaccine currently available it’s a no-brainer that airports and other modes of travel will be altered to ensure customer safety. With new regulations stating that face coverings are to be made mandatory on all London transport, your new normal will begin even before you get to the airport. Once at the airport be prepared for longer wait times and staggered entry as a number of new safety precautions will be in place. Airports like Heathrow and Gatwick have already started to implement changes by providing PPE to staff, installing hand sanitiser stations and closing off non-essential facilities.[1] More change is expected as a spokesperson for Heathrow said that they have already begun investing in a next generation security programme that will reduce the need for person-to-person contact.[2] During your journey you’ll be expected to wear a face mask and there will no longer be food service available on flights. Some in the travel industry are worried that the restrictions will make flying less appealing and expect to see a dip in the number of travellers post lock-down.

Now that you’ve arrived at your destination – what can you expect? It’s clear that spontaneous holidays will be a thing of the past with many resorts and hotels demanding booking in advance. Be prepared before your travels by checking up on the latest regulations and the policies of any hotels or resorts that you visit. Policies will vary but what you can generally expect is less person-to-person contact and stricter cleaning measures. This could mean mini-bars will be removed and check out times could be earlier to allow for deeper cleaning.[3] Contactless payment is already starting to become the preferred method of payment and it is likely that hotels will not accept cash in future.

With all the policies and restrictions in place the idea of travelling again can seem daunting. Though all restrictions are necessary they can take away from the holiday experience. Maybe staycations will become more fashionable and in many ways this is good for our environment as it could see a fall in greenhouse gas emissions. Our world has to get moving again and these changes are key to ensuring our economy grows and that we’re on the road to financial recovery.

  1. https://www.futuretravelexperience.com/2020/04/heathrow-covid-19-response-technology-and-innovation/
  2. https://www.futuretravelexperience.com/2020/04/heathrow-covid-19-response-technology-and-innovation/
  3.  https://www.hospitalitynet.org/hottopic/coronavirus

© 2020 Whitestone Chambers





How The Aviation Industry Is Helping To Combat COVID 19

During these challenging times our world has had to adapt to a new normal and undergo radical changes in the workplace. When we think of those directly on the frontline we most often think of doctors and nurses but the aviation industry is playing a big role too. Despite all the setbacks the industry is facing, with a reported $252 billion loss in revenue(1), the aviation industry still remains a vital resource. The importance of the industry has only been made clearer during the pandemic as we have started to become more aware of its contributions to the fight against COVID 19.

A fast and effective mode of transport, airplanes have been used to deliver medical equipment and masks all around the world. When there was a shortage of ventilators it was the aviation industry that played a part in supplying the demand; ensuring that equipment got to where it needed to be. With lockdowns in place there has been less demand for passenger travel which has resulted in some passenger airlines using their space to deliver masks and gloves. Aer Lingus has been routinely flying five of its aircraft from Beijing to Ireland to help deliver much needed health supplies (2). With many countries seeing a spike in infections there has been a greater demand for medical staff to help in locations where the health system has been overwhelmed with cases. The aviation industry has helped in this matter by transporting people to where they are needed. On 12th March a Chinese delegation of a dozen doctors and nurses was sent to Italy on a China Eastern flight to help the country deal with its rate of infection (3).

During the early stages of the pandemic there was a general hysteria that led to stock-piling and an increased demand for more produce. Airplanes and freight carriers are the fastest modes of transport for delivering goods around the world. Air transport has helped keep up with supply chains around the world and played an integral part in feeding nations. United Cargo President, John Krems, has spoken of the industry’s vital role during this time by stating that “United airlines utilise their network capabilities to get vital shipments such as food to areas that need them most.”(4) Once a vaccine does become available the aviation industry will play a huge role in helping to distribute treatment globally. Vaccines need to be handled delicately and stored at a specific temperature and airplanes have the necessary equipment to do this. Many airlines are already implementing changes that will ensure the safety of crew and those helping to move equipment and goods from one point to another.

Despite all the setbacks the aviation industry has faced it has proved itself to be able to adapt to current measures and meet demand. While we work on a vaccine the aviation industry will be here to respond to the needs of the world. And once we open up our gates again the industry will take us on and prepare us for a future of travel in a safer world.

  1. https://www.iata.org/en/pressroom/pr/2020-04-14-01/
  2. https://aviationbenefits.org/faqs/aviation-bridging-the-world-and-supporting-the-fight-against-covid-19/
  3.  https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-italy-respirators/china-sends-medical-supplies-experts-to-help-italy-battle-coronavirus-idUKKBN2101IM
  4. https://aviationbenefits.org/faqs/aviation-bridging-the-world-and-supporting-the-fight-against-covid-19/

© 2020 Whitestone Chambers