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Environmental Health

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN HL6199, tabled on 8 March 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the withdrawal and archiving of guidance by Defra, as part of its Smarter Guidance Review, on the ability of local authority environmental health officers to deal effectively and appropriately with statutory nuisances.

Answered on

15 March 2018

Issues that could be ‘statutory nuisances’ are local issues best dealt with at a local level. The Government believes that current legislation provides local authorities with the necessary powers to deal with statutory nuisances and does not consider it appropriate to provide ‘best practice’ guidance to local authorities. Local authorities need to be able to take account of local circumstances when determining how best to apply the powers available to them.

Detailed guidance was withdrawn under the 2010-2015 government’s Smarter Guidance review and replaced with user-friendly general guidance setting out the duties of local authorities under the statutory nuisance regime. The Smarter Guidance review was part of the Red Tape Challenge and was launched in response to a detailed review that found a lack of clarity between legal obligation and an accumulation of ‘best practice’ guidance which, in many cases, could be better provided by other bodies.

The Smarter Guidance review therefore consulted on proposals to simplify guidance to focus on legal obligations. This consultation process sought views on user needs, including those of environmental health officers (EHOs). EHOs therefore had an opportunity to express any views about the impact of the guidance changes on their ability to perform their role before a final decision was taken on whether or not to revise or archive specific documents.