CIEH has welcomed the UK Government’s announcement of new enforcement powers for local authorities contained with its COVID-19 Winter Plan.
Having set out plans for England to move to a stronger tier system following the end of the England-wide lockdown on 2 December, the UK Government has now confirmed that local authorities are to be provided with additional COVID-19 enforcement powers to support the new system.
The Plan includes new streamlined powers for local authorities in England to issue improvement and restriction notices to businesses that are breaching COVID-Secure rules, with the ability to compel the immediate closure of a premise that is not complying with them.
This comes as the UK Government revealed that a small number of businesses are operating in an unsafe way, potentially putting progress on controlling the pandemic in jeopardy.
Additional funding for local authorities will be provided through the extension of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund which will provide monthly payments to local authorities facing higher restrictions until the end of the financial year.
Kate Thompson, CIEH Director Wales, said:
“CIEH has been campaigning for these new powers which are long overdue and will enable swift and effective action to be taken against those premises that are posing a risk to public health.
We are delighted that the UK Government is now listening to key stakeholders.
We also welcome the extension of the Contain Outbreak Management Fund to allow local authorities to properly utilise these new powers and keep our communities safe.
We strongly encourage the UK Government to share the draft guidance on the use of the new powers early as possible rather than at the eleventh hour.
With the England-wide lockdown ending in just seven days, it is vital we use the time available to get this right.”