Firstly, before we can talk about us, we must mention the pandemic.
It is fair to say that the whole country had a massive speed bump in the form of Covid-19. No-one should understate the impact this has had on so many families across the country. By mid-December 2020 nearly 65,000 people had lost their lives so far. No review of the year should pass without acknowledging this and the pain and suffering for the family and friends of these people. The impact on what is fast approaching 2 million people who have tested positive through the year should also be acknowledged as well as the hard work and sacrifices made by frontline healthcare and emergency service personnel.
When the country first went into lockdown, the construction industry was classed as essential so we remained open and continued to recycle lead. Our first thought was how to do this safely. Our teams worked hard to produce a safety manual on how to continue operations during the lockdown and to try and reduce the chances of our colleagues being affected by the virus at work. This manual was a dynamic tool that we have constantly reviewed to make sure that we continue to stay as safe as possible whilst in the work environment.
Away from health and safety, we entered the year having had a £3m investment in an upgrade to our refinery to reduce our emissions. This project was successfully completed in April. The project was a challenge, as we maintained a fully working plant around the refinery area at the same time as construction was happening. The project was a success, and this has helped future-proof this area of our operations in Welwyn Garden City and reduce our emissions. The logistics that go into making a project like this a success are complicated and we are thankful to our project team and our contractor, Lodge Cotterill, for the work that went into this project.