COVID contaminated buildings can be “destroyed” by local authorities under a raft of new powers granted by central government.

Buckinghamshire Council is among hundreds in England and Wales which has the capacity to order the demolition of contaminated buildings to prevent a second wave of coronavirus.

It is one among a raft of new measures introduced by government bestowed on local authorities.

The council has the capacity to draw from six separate pieces of legislation, giving it teeth in the fight to contain local outbreaks of the virus.

Most recently the Free Press reported on “significant” powers granted to Buckinghamshire Council to contain a surge by enforcing so-called “lightning lockdowns”.

Read more: ‘Lightning lockdowns’: council given power to shut down county in COVID-19 surge

These new powers, awarded by Prime Minister Boris Johnson on July 17, give councils in England freedom to respond to outbreaks “where speed is paramount”.

It grants the council and others permission to close down businesses, events, and outdoor spaces in the county, without a directive from central government.

Mr Johnson added the new powers should be used “with discretion”.

Leader of Buckinghamshire Council, Martin Tett said at the time the council is taking its new responsibilities “extremely seriously”.

Should a local outbreak occur, the council can “impose restrictions or requirements to close contaminated premises; close public spaces in the area of the local authority; detain a conveyance or movable structure; disinfect or decontaminate premises; or order that a building, conveyance or structure be destroyed,” according to the Covid-19 Contain Framework: a guide for local decision-makers.

However, local authorities must make an application to the Magistrates’ Court for approval to do so.

Read more: Multiple child abuse cases reported ‘daily’ under lockdown to council bosses

The demolition directive means, in theory, workspaces, shops, and care homes could be brought down.

Private homes could also be destroyed “as a last resort”, according to a report in The Daily Telegraph.

Use of the terms “conveyance or movable structure” suggests public transport such as buses and trains are also liable.

The Daily Telegraph confirms local authorities have been issued a catalogue of legislation they can evoke to manage public spaces, not least the Coronavirus Act 2020.

“It has to be right that we take local action in response to local outbreaks,” said Mr Johnson.

Councillor Tett said the council is working alongside Public Health England to review coronavirus data “every day” – and urged anyone with symptoms, “no matter how mild”, to get tested.