As a campaigning organisation, CIEH is always actively advocating for environmental health at the UK Parliament. We work with MPs and peers across the board on a range of policy areas and Bills of importance to our members and the profession.
Since Parliament’s return earlier this month, we have been at the centre of a flurry of activity around two flagship government Bills where CIEH has been able to make a real impact.
Firstly, the Environment Bill began its report stage in the House of Lords with peers voting on a range of amendments. The much-delayed Bill is incredibly wide in scope with some elements covering the whole UK and others being specific to devolved nations.
As part of the Healthy Air Campaign (HAC) coalition of charities and public health organisations, we have been working with peers to table amendments aimed at strengthening the environmental commitments within the Bill, most notably on air quality.
For CIEH, the key amendment was tabled by Baroness Hayman of Ullock calling for the UK Government to commit to reaching World Health Organization (WHO) levels on air quality by 2030 and was voted through by 181-159 votes despite opposition from the Government. Prior to the vote, we had co-written a parliamentary briefing provided by HAC to all peers setting out the need to mirror WHO air quality guidance.
Although a significant victory, the fight now moves back to the House of Commons where we will be working to try and keep the amendment in the Bill.
The second major Bill we are heavily involved in is the Health and Care Bill, which began its Committee Stage in the House of Commons in the first week back from summer recess.
Supported by a coalition of public health organisations (Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), the Institute of Licensing (IoL), the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP), the UK Public Health Network (UKPHN), the Faculty of Public Health (FPH), and Save Face), we worked with a solicitor from Kings Chambers to draft our own amendment aimed at improving the regulation of the cosmetics industry in England.
We have campaigned strongly to make the cosmetics industry safer, and our amendment would give the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care the power to introduce a licensing regime for cosmetic treatments and makes it an offence for someone to practise without a licence.
We have been working intensely with a number of MPs and their offices to build cross-party support for our amendment, and with Parliament’s Table Office to ensure the wording and presentation is impactful and admissible. These endeavours were successful, as our amendment has been tabled by Caroline Nokes MP, alongside the support of Sarah Champion MP, Kevan Jones MP, Carolyn Harris MP and Anne Marie Morris MP.
As part of our wider efforts to raise the profile and cultivate support for our amendment we also created a parliamentary briefing outlining our amendment and the need to properly regulate the cosmetics industry.
While we have seen some notable successes, we continue to work extensively on these two Bills and bang the drum for environmental health at the heart of government.