DISTRICT Councillors will this week (July 2) be asked to recognise the many achievements of EDDC’s in-house Environmental Health team, who work constantly behind the scenes to protect the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors to East Devon.
Recognition of the team's work comes in a report that will be presented to Cabinet on Wednesday evening.
Their duties include:
• inspecting food businesses and investigating complaints about the safety of food;
• resolving complaints about workplace health and safety and promoting good practice;
• investigating infectious diseases and preventing their spread within the community;
• preventing and controlling environmental pollution including controlling smoke, odours, flies and noise;
• promoting and enforcing public health and pest control legislation;
• providing advice on the likely impact of new development and on a variety of licensing matters; • reporting on bathing water quality;
• arranging funerals in the unfortunate circumstances where no one else is willing or able to do so.
In 2013 they also introduced new pest control and dog warden services.
Commenting on the work of the team, Councillor Iain Chubb, Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “Our Environmental Health team regulate a range of environmental and behavioural areas that help people in East Devon to live in, work in and enjoy this outstanding place.
“For many of us, these services are simply re-affirming the basic needs for a reasonable quality of life and so much of their day-to-day work goes unseen by the majority.
“Reading the annual report from the EH team for 2013* should help Members understand the extent to which our officers work tirelessly to prevent problems and where problems do arise, to understand how we help resolve neighbour disputes and generally where we put a stop to a range of activities with the potential to harm our health and wellbeing”.
Among the more high profile successes of the team have been the successful resolution to complaints about plagues of flies coming from poultry farms including one notable long running case that was eventually concluded in Court and arranging last year’s Seagull Summit, which led to a number of new initiatives to help ease the problems caused by the birds in our seaside towns.
EDDC's Food Specialist Environmental Health Officers carried out 1186 inspections or interventions during 2013, including 623 programmed routine food inspection of existing businesses, 150 inspections of new food businesses and 192 revisits for food businesses.
They received 285 reports of infectious disease from the Public Health Laboratory.
The team also received reports of 112 accidents through the statutory Reporting of Injuries, Disease and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations mechanism.
There were 61 licensing enquiries, consultations and complaints and 334 samples were taken over the year for the Commercial team by the Sampling Technical Officer.
During last year 606 East Devon food businesses have been displayed on the Food Standards Agency Website as having a Food Hygiene Rating, indicating the results of their last food hygiene programmed inspection.
At the same time the Environmental Protection team was equally busy dealing with almost 800 complaints about noise, assessing over 700 Licensing applications and handling literally hundreds of other cases including for example enquiries, complaints, investigations and promotions ranging from fly nuisance, air pollution, bathing water quality, contaminated land, hoarders, responsible dog ownership and pest problems.