CIEH has warmly welcomed the Prime Minister's announcement this afternoon that the Government will create a register of Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) for local authorities in England to draw upon for support in combatting COVID-19.
The register is being created to boost the enforcement capacity of local authorities, and will sit alongside the introduction of COVID-19 Secure Marshalls to help ensure social distancing in town and city centres.
EHPs have played a vital role throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, from supporting contact tracing efforts, to business closure enforcement during the first stage of lockdown. Following the gradual reopening of businesses over the course of the summer, EHPs have also been at the forefront of inspecting establishments to ensure that they are COVID-secure and complying with government guidelines.
CIEH had previously created and offered its own register of Environmental Health volunteers to ensure that the skills and expertise of the environmental health profession were available to help fight COVID-19.
Debbie Wood, Executive Director for Membership and External Affairs, said:
"We are delighted that the Prime Minister has recognised the vital and unique role of Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) in tackling COVID-19 and keeping the public safe.
Our members have been heavily involved in supporting government efforts throughout the pandemic, and the Prime Minister’s statement and commitment to a register reflects the asset that the environmental health profession is to central and local government.
We have been working with the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) on proposals for this register for several weeks now, recognising the significant challenges that the local government sector face in responding to the pandemic.
We will be working with the Local Government Association (LGA) to develop this resource and make it available to local authorities. We are also speaking to representatives from the devolved administrations with a view to mirroring this register in Wales and Northern Ireland."