How a remote bit of scrapyard skewed the government’s £35m Covid App

There is much talk on how using local knowledge, rather than centralised, broad-brush, top-down guesswork would be a better way to run the Tier system of alerts.

Here in Broxtowe, which went into Tier 3 at a minute past midnight today, that is evident more than ever. I checked the official Covid app this morning, expecting it to read ‘COVID alert level: very high’. After all, I live right on the edge of what was the most infected area of the UK recently, with cases still very high.

But what’s this? Shurely sum mistake?

NG9 is completely in Broxtowe, which is very much in Nottinghamshire, so what’s going on? Surely presenting clear, unambiguous information is the whole point of the Tier system?

I was wrong. Some of NG9 is actually in the Erewash area of Derbyshire Thanks to the skills of @owenboswarva, it turns out a tiny bit of postcode sits the wrong side of the Erewash canal.

I’m a former postman, I know there are anomalies -Long Eaton having a NG10 postcode etc, but I was unaware of this weirdness. Here it is: red dot in the top left: NG9 3NU.

It’s actually an obsolete postcode these days, due to it being the arse end of a scrapyard. If you’ve ever cycled the Nutbrook trail, you’ll be familiar with the yards that line it. This is one of them. The actual scrapyard office uses a Derbyshire postcode. No one lives there. No post ever gets delivered there. It’s a vestigial postcode, a useless bit of Broxtowe sitting the wrong side of the river.

And for that, the tens of thousands of people living in Broxtowe are today being told conflicting information about alert levels; we’ve been teetering on the edge for weeks. Because this weird nub of NG9 sits in Derbyshire, it skews the data for tens of thousands of people. Of course, most people here will know we’re in V. High alert – it’s still bizarre this can happen. Perhaps a little local input could have cleared up some anomalies.

Thanks to @robredpath for help. 

NG9: but not as you know it.

The latest issue of The Beestonian is out now: our first print issue since Lockdown (soon to be known as Lockdown#1), If you’d like a copy delivered donate a quid (if NG9: scrapyards not applicable) and drop us your address via email; £2 in any other UK postcodes, £5 anywhere in the world): https://ko-fi.com/thebeestonian .

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