South Tyneside Council said its departments tasked with enforcing waste crimes, housing standards and food safety in South Tyneside are moving towards ‘business as usual’ once again as officers gave an update on action taken across the borough.
The local authority’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee were brought up to speed on the work of the council’s regulatory services since November 2020.
This includes building control, environmental health, environmental enforcement, licensing and Trading Standards teams.
Despite taking on extra responsibilities around Covid-19, regulatory services has continued its regular functions – from tackling fly-tipping to catching rogue traders.
“The last time I brought a report last year it was very Covid-heavy as you can imagine,” said James Maughan, the council’s operations manager for resilience.
“This is a report that runs through how the statutory regulatory function is moving more to business as usual and has got some facts and figures of what action has been taken since I brought the last report.”
The council officer was speaking at South Shields Town Hall on Friday, June 11, where councillors heard about the huge body of work that has taken place to keep residents safe.
Key highlights included:
:: The seizure of at least five vehicles during the ‘various lockdowns’ for fly-tipping offences.
:: Around 34 fixed penalty notices issued for different offences since July 2020, including household waste duty of care, fly-tipping, breaches of public space protection orders, littering and dog fouling.
:: For food safety, 10 formal enforcement notices have been issued, 190 food complaints investigated and 114 food premises registrations processed.
:: For housing, 17 formal enforcement notices have been served during the pandemic, including four emergency prohibition notices requiring the ‘immediate removal of tenants for their own safety.’
:: Enforcement action was taken against five houses in multiple occupation for housing offences.
:: Environmental protection teams responded to 473 statutory nuisance complaints, with noise being the biggest issue complained of.
:: Trading Standards set up three ‘no cold calling zones’ incorporating approximately 300 households.
:: Trading Standards seized 6,040 illegal cigarettes and 43 kg of hand rolled tobacco from two private houses, with the occupiers believed to be involved in selling the goods.
A report to the council’s Licensing and Regulatory Committee also outlined the challenges for regulatory services going forward.
It said:”As key frontline services, all regulatory services continue to respond to large volumes of requests for service and customer complaints.
“The teams must now face the challenge of resumption of business as usual activity, whilst at the same time remaining agile and responsive to the on-going demands of the pandemic and the implications for local businesses, visitors and residents.”
During the meeting, councillors welcomed the update and thanked council staff for their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Councillor Neil Maxwell, who chairs the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, added: “These people have been on the frontline of Covid for the last 15-16 months and I think they have done a really good job.”