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 unfair or unsafe trading practices taking place in York to keep our priorities under review.

Ensuring businesses meet food safety requirements

We visit food businesses to check compliance with food safety legislation and award a food hygiene rating.

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.

Ensuring local businesses are meeting their health and safety obligations

We participate in nationally co-ordinated enforcement projects driven by the Health & Safety Executive. Through 'Primary Authority Partnerships' we provide assured advice to ensure a consistent approach to health and safety regulation and give businesses confidence in their systems and procedures.

We're also encouraging businesses to adopt the 'Workplace Wellbeing Charter' as a means of improving employee health and wellbeing.

Protecting the public from nuisance emanating from commercial premises

'Nuisance' may be in the form of:

We review planning and licensing applications, and take appropriate action to prevent nuisances arising in the first place. We also carry out inspections at local businesses to ensure appropriate pollution control measures are in place.

Improving the local environment, particularly air quality

We use our influence to ensure that key strategies are consistent with the aim of improving air quality and other considerations like cleaning up contaminated land.

We provide specialist consultancy advice to developers and others on these issues and discharging conditions imposed through the planning application process.

Ensuring business meet their licensing obligations

Public Protection issue business licences for a wide range of activities including:

  • the sale of alcohol
  • gambling
  • taxis/private hire
  • the keeping of animals

We carry out inspections of the businesses we licence according to the risk they pose. We also review all complaints and investigate potential breaches, with a range of sanctions available to deal with contraventions.

Protecting residents from unfair trading practices

We provide advice and assistance to local businesses to help them comply with the law.

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.

To help local residents identify businesses they can trust we:

We operate 'cold calling controlled zones' to help reduce instances of cold calling at the door, and we visit those responding to scam mail to try to dissuade them from participating further.

Cold calling controlled zones map

View larger map

Preventing the supply of dangerous products

Dangerous products may include:

  • illegal supplies of alcohol
  • illegal tobacco
  • potentially harmful foods

We provide advice to local manufacturers and importers on the supply of safe products.

We carry out 'test purchases' and sampling to identify traders selling products which do not comply with the law. This includes obtaining cheap and illicit tobacco which doesn't contain the health warnings designed to reduce consumption, and sampling foods which don't meet legal requirements in respect of food additives and/or allergens.

Public Protection complaints

We encourage people to contact us to report any Public Protection concerns. We consider all complaints from the public about any aspect of environmental health or trading standards law we are responsible for enforcing.

The following criteria is used to determine whether to investigate a case further:

  • where there are 2 or more incidents, similar in nature, capable of harm and where there is a public expectation of action
  • a single case at the discretion of a Public Protection Manager
  • the matter concerns a ‘priority’ area (above)

Complaints which are not investigated immediately remain on record and may be referred to in the event of similar problems being reported.

Also see

Public Protection Unit

Eco Depot, Hazel Court, York, YO10 3DS

Telephone: 01904 551525