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Environmental health experts urge caution over planning reforms

The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) has urged caution over reports that planning reforms will be at the heart of next week’s Queen’s Speech.

The Queen’s Speech is due to take place on 11 May and there have been recent reports that the government is now looking to use it to push ahead with planning reforms.

The CIEH has again raised serious concerns over a number of areas in the proposals, most notably relating to public engagement, permitted development, and local authority resources. CIEH issued a parliamentary briefing to MPs and Peers in November outlining the key issues with the proposals.

It has also called on the government to finally commit to passing their much-delayed Environment Bill, and to introducing legislation to regulate the cosmetic industry.

Last year, CIEH published two flagship reports on regulating cosmetic treatments in England. A Fragmented Picture highlighted the glaring disparities and gaps that exist for regulating cosmetic treatments across the UK.

The second report, The Ugly Side of Beauty, revealed the findings of a survey of regulators in England, who are responsible for keeping the public safe, and the serious gaps they still see in protections.

‘Although we welcome the government’s aim to improve the current planning system, we have highlighted a number of serious concerns with the Government’s proposals as they currently stand,’ said CIEH president, Julie Barratt.

‘Whilst attempts to improve the efficiency of the planning system are commendable, it cannot be done through shutting out community engagement, by waiving through unsuitable conversions, or by encouraging inappropriate decisions by penalising local authorities.  Most importantly, the health of future occupiers needs to feature more in the proposals.

‘Housing that contributes to the health and wellbeing of the nation will help to reduce costs to the NHS and to society in the long term. It is vital that we get this right.

‘We are also continuing to call on the government to pass their flagship Environment Bill once and for all, and to stop the questionable can-kicking that seems to have accompanied its slow progress.

‘Finally, the Queen’s Speech is the perfect chance for the government to demonstrate their commitment to tackling the shocking public health concerns around the currently unregulated cosmetics industry.

‘We look forward to working closely with government on these key issues.’

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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