Be jubilant for Jubilee, not a killjoy
Published: 25 May 2012
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has published some top tips for organising celebrations as part of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in order to prevent so-called 'jobsworths' from jeopardising Jubilee celebrations by wrongly citing health and safety as a way to ban or restrict events.
The Government has said that the celebrations for the Jubilee should not be hindered by bogus health and safety restrictions. As a result, the HSE has published ten top tips online.
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said, "The Jubilee is a great opportunity for communities from all walks of life to come together, and reinforce our shared identity and sense of Britishness. The Government has slashed back regulations on street parties, by reining back the complicated bureaucracy of forms, permissions and risk assessments - now councils need to do their bit to join in."
He added, "Unnecessary and irrelevant health and safety regulations should not be used as an excuse to prevent people to celebrate; the only red tape in sight should be the Jubilee bunting hanging in the streets."
So, if you are planning to join in with the Jubilee celebrations this summer by organising your own celebrations, some of these tips may come in helpful to ensure a safe, but unhindered, day:
- if you're going for a massive party, you might need to speak to your local council - things like charging for entry to your event, employing people by paying them, selling food or alcohol or wanting to completely close roads - these are the types of things that might need a conversation;
- if people are paying to come to your event, then you have responsibilities to your customers;
- whether it's just you or a group of people who are planning a celebration, it's a good idea to have a chat or have a think yourself about how to make your event run smoothly, deciding on things which might be an issue on the day, like children running about near traffic;
- stand up for common sense, and if someone says you can't do something for health and safety reasons, challenge them to find out exactly why - if there's a genuine risk, see what you can do to minimise that and still go ahead.
Cedrec is 18 today!
Published: 25 May 2012
We're feeling our age a bit at Cedrec Towers, but celebrating the fact that we're 18 years old today!
Back on 24 May 1994, Grunge was becoming less in vogue and we were staring to smarten ourselves up. Deconstruction was out, and sophistication was in. Everyone was eagerly awaiting the release of Beverly Hills Cop 3, Manchester United had the Number 1 single with Come On You Reds and nobody could quite understand how M People pipped Pulp to the Mercury Music Prize, but we were all relieved that they beat Take That.
That fateful Tuesday also saw the death of psychologist and psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, renowned for his theory on the psychosocial development of human beings and most famous for coining the phrase "identity crisis." We held a candlelight vigil for Poison singer Bret Michaels, who was involved in a serious car crash after he passed out behind the wheel while driving his Ferrari.
However more significantly, Cedrec Environmental was born in a tiny office in the centre of Sunderland. Offering summaries of legislation. For England and Wales. On floppy disk.
Fast forward 18 years and things have moved on considerably. A Full Text CD version followed, along with legislation for Scotland and Northern Ireland. We expanded to cover health and safety and most recently to an online system. Our ethos has always remained the same - we make legislation simple.
Of course, if you've been with us from the start you'll already know this and how we've kept you up-to-date with the above and all other major changes. Stick with us for the next 18 years, we're still hoping for the Control of Hoverboards Regulations...
Published: 22 May 2012
A new "community trigger" is to be introduced to replace the discredited ASBO scheme, and make it quicker and easier for police to investigate complaints of anti-social behaviour.
Under the new plan, forces will be required to investigate any single incident reported by at least five people, or any three complaints made by the same person. Speaking in Manchester, which will be one of three pilot areas for the scheme, the Home Secretary Theresa May said the measures, "will give people the confidence that when they call the police something will be done".
The Home Secretary's reforms will replace 19 measures with six powers that target people, places and police powers. A new Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) will be used to ban individuals from activities or places, while civil Crime Prevention Injunctions (CPI) will be introduced to give agencies immediate power to protect victims and communities by stopping bad behaviour before it escalates.
The package of measures also includes plans to impose on-the-spot penalties of up to ú100 for householders who regularly dump rubbish in their gardens.
Reacting to the new community triggers, Yvette Cooper, the Shadow Home Secretary, said, "The Government's new measures are a weaker rebrand, making it harder for the police, councils and housing associations to take tough enforcement action when people's lives are made a misery by anti-social bullies or nuisance neighbours. It should not take three separate complaints, or five different households complaining before getting a response.
She continued, "Breaching anti-social behaviour orders will no longer be a criminal offence. And housing associations have warned that rebranding injunctions will make it harder to deal with neighbours from hell because it rips up years of case law and experience. Ministers' grand promises on anti-social behaviour are no use if they are taking away the police to do the job and cutting back the effective powers they need."
For more information, see the:
Energy Bill published
Published: 22 May 2012
The Government today published its draft Energy Bill, which is designed to encourage major investment in clean energy generation, and is expected to come into force in the Autumn.
Critics have expressed concerns that the measures will result in higher energy bills for consumers, but Energy Secretary Ed Davey has stressed that they do not amount to public subsidies for new nuclear plants.
He commented, "The Government needs to increase energy capacity to compensate for the closure of a number of coal and nuclear plants, and to reduce the UK's reliance on imported gas. We need to make sure the bias towards gas is dealt with and that low carbon sources can compete on a level playing field. With nuclear capacity and coal capacity coming offline, we need a market structure to keep the lights on. To get investment, we need to give investors certainty that will lower the cost of capital. There will be no blank cheque for nuclear - unless they are price competitive, nuclear projects will not go ahead."
State subsidies for nuclear plants are illegal in the European Union, and guaranteed contracts for energy suppliers can be interpreted as a way around these laws. Mr Davey conceded that energy bills could increase as a result of these contracts, but said bills would rise even more without them due to the rising cost of imported wholesale gas. He argues that producing our own energy would help to keep prices down.
Npower chief executive Volker Beckers has stated that the impact on domestic fuel bills was unclear, "It's too early to say the impact will be X% on bills." In turn, Environmental groups say the Bill will not reduce the UK's reliance on gas, and that more clarity is needed over the Government's long-term policy, especially on how it aims to achieve carbon dioxide reduction targets.
Key measures of the Bill include:
- the introduction of an Emissions Performance Standard, to prevent the construction of new, dirty coal plants;
- a "capacity mechanism", involving payments to power stations to make sure there is sufficient and reliable capacity to meet demand;
- the creation of an independent regulator - the Office for Nuclear Regulation.
For more information, see:
- the draft Energy Bill.
New NI Asbestos Regulations
Published: 22 May 2012
RevisedáControl of Asbestos Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 2012/179 have now been published and will come into force on 28 May 2012.
The new Regulations have been made in order to comply with a legal opinion issued by the European Commission which determined that the previous Asbestos Regulations SI 2007/31 had not fully implemented the relevant European legislation.
The main change is that employers carrying out some types of non-licensed work will now be required to notify that work, make sure the employees carrying out such work have medical examinations at least once every three years and to keep a record of the work carried out by each worker. However, there will be a three year transitional period until 1 April 2015, before the new requirement on medical examinations comes into force.
The core requirements of the previous Regulations to carry out a risk assessment, plan work, put in place suitable control measures and train workers are all unchanged. The work for which a licence is currently required is also unchanged, as are the requirements relating to licensed workers.
Drought lifted due to record-breaking April showers
Published: 18 May 2012
Following the wettest April on record, the Environment Agency has announced that 19 parts of England are no longer in drought.
Heavy and persistent rain in the South West, the Midlands and Yorkshire has boosted river and reservoir levels, reducing pressure on the environment and water supplies. River flows have gone from below normal levels at all sites in March to exceptionally high levels in almost half of the spots monitored by the Environment Agency.
Water companies in those areas are unlikely to impose hosepipe bans on customers this summer, the Environment Agency said.
Groundwater levels are still low across the country, and parts of East Anglia and the South East remain in drought with hosepipe bans in place.
England's biggest water company, Thames Water, said it could rule out applying for a Drought Order allowing it to impose more serious restrictions on water use following the weeks of heavy rain. However, the firm warned its 8.8 million customers in London and the Thames Valley that it was too early to lift the hosepipe ban imposed early in April.
Richard Aylard, Thames Water's sustainability director, said, "Despite all the recent rain, we still have a serious groundwater shortage, and we could yet have a long, hot summer, so, much as we'd love to, it would be irresponsible for us to lift the hosepipe ban just yet."
Drought status has been lifted for South Yorkshire, East Yorkshire, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Bristol, parts of Gloucestershire, parts of Hampshire, most of Wiltshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Derbyshire, Staffordshire, West Midlands, Warwickshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire and Herefordshire.
For more information, see the: