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Priorities for Public Protection

The Public Protection Team are responsible for most duties relating to:

  • environmental health
  • trading standards
  • licensing

Current Public Protection priorities

With such a wide range of responsibilities, we prioritise certain activities.

We use the latest information available to us about the environment and other or unsafe trading practices taking place in York to keep our priorities under review.

Find out more about how we:

Supporting Businesses

We provide timely and practical advice to local businesses on environmental health, trading standards and licensing matters. Basic advice is provided free of charge, but more detailed help tailored specifically to your situation is available on a cost recovery basis.

We can also provide ‘assured advice’ through Primary Authority Partnerships.

We signpost businesses to grants and other sources of business support available to aid recovery and to grow.

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Keeping people safe

Our officers co-ordinate safety advisory groups to help ensure that events in the city are safe. We also work with partners such as the police to engage with licensed premises in the city to help prevent drink spiking, violence, and river deaths. We undertake regular checks on taxis drivers and their vehicles to ensure all is in order.

We manage inspections to businesses to ensure compliance with health and safety obligations, particularly in businesses that the health and safety executive have highlighted as a priority. In addition, we undertake a small amount of ‘test purchasing’ to check that products being sold are safe.

In all our inspections and other work, officers are trained to identify safeguarding issues and to report concerns around matters such as potential modern slavery.

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Protecting the local environment

We review planning applications and add conditions where appropriate to help mitigate any adverse environmental and health impacts including air quality, contaminated land, potential nuisance and loss of amenity.

We create air quality action plans and help implement the actions. We monitor and report on the city’s air quality.

We inspect businesses to ensure they are complying with measures to prevent pollution and we sample the water from private water supplies to ensure it meets required standards.

We deal with complaints about noise, odours, and such like from commercial premises. The Neighbourhood Enforcement officers deal with non-commercial noise nuisance including noisy neighbours. We undertake anti-idling enforcement as part of routine patrolling.

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Enhancing food safety and standards

In accordance with our food service plan, we visit food businesses to check compliance with food safety legislation and award a food hygiene rating. We also check or food is ‘what it says it is’ by inspecting our highest risk premises.

We provide pre-inspection advice visits to businesses looking to improve or maintain their score, and we take firm action against any non-compliant businesses we identify.

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Reducing problem alcohol and illegal tobacco supplies

We participate in the community alcohol partnership to co-ordinate activity on preventing illegal alcohol sales, and similarly work with public health and partners in respect of tobacco. We undertake inspections at businesses to check compliance with licence conditions.

With the help of volunteers, we undertake a limited amount of ‘test purchasing’ visits to check the steps being taken by businesses to prevent underage sales are working. Additionally, we use detection dogs to help identify anyone possessing cheap and illicit tobacco for sale.

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Tackling unfair trading

We use information supplied by Citizens Advice and other sources to identify traders who are persistently complained about. We use a variety of techniques to help reduce the number of complaints about these businesses from offering advice to taking formal enforcement action.

We identify and help people who are the victims of scams, and we administer cold-calling controlled zones to help reduce unwanted cold callers. To help identify ‘good businesses’, we work with Age UK York vetting traders in the Home Service Directory, and we approve garages selling and repairing vehicles through the Approved Garage Scheme.

We can refer large cases to the National Trading Standards teams (also based at City of York Council) where appropriate. We're equipped to recover the assets and proceeds of crime from those engaged in large scale fraud to ensure that crime doesn’t pay.

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Public Protection complaints

We encourage people to contact us to report any Public Protection concerns, although we ask people with concerns about trading standards matters to contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline in the first instance as they can help with your rights to, for example, refunds and repairs. We have access to the complaints made to Citizens Advice.

We consider all complaints from the public about any aspect of environmental health, trading standards or licensing we are responsible for enforcing. However, we cannot provide a detailed response to every complaint and/or enquiry and we may signpost you to a more appropriate source of help.

Complaints that are not reacted to immediately remain on record and may be referred to in the event of similar problems being reported by others. We may therefore contact you in the future.

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Also see

Public Protection Team

Eco Depot, Hazel Court, York, YO10 3DS

Telephone: 01904 551525