Trading Standards news

On this page the primary aim is to update and make aware both businesses and consumers of new developments that impact on both these groups.

Avian Flu

Avian influenza (bird flu) is a notifiable animal disease. If you suspect any type of avian influenza in poultry or captive birds you must report it immediately by calling the Defra Rural Services Helpline on 03000 200 301. Failure to do so is an offence.

If you find dead wild waterfowl (swans, geese or ducks) or other dead wild birds, such as gulls or birds of prey, you should report them to the Defra helpline (03459 33 55 77 - please select option 7).

All bird keepers (whether you have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) must keep a close watch on them for signs of disease and maintain good biosecurity at all times. If you have any concerns about the health of your birds, seek prompt advice from your vet.

An Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) has been declared across the whole of England effective from 5pm on 11 November 2020. The AIPZ means all bird keepers in England (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock) are required by law to take a range of biosecurity precautions.

In addition to the biosecurity measures currently required by the AIPZ, new housing measures came into force across England on 14 December 2020, which mean it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers in England to keep their birds indoors, except in very specific circumstances.

You should register your poultry, even if only kept as pets, so we can contact you during an outbreak. This is a legal requirement if you have 50 or more birds. Poultry includes chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese, pigeon (bred for meat), partridge, quail, guinea fowl and pheasants.

For further information go to Gov.uk

EU Exit Guidance

New and updated guidance continues to be produced advising on both the Great Britain and Northern Ireland regulatory regimes that now apply.  A range of guides on specific product safety regulations, including cosmetics, PPE, toys, and electrical equipment, for businesses placing goods on the market in Northern Ireland have been published. Also, packaged goods and PPE have been added to the guides for businesses placing goods on the market in Great Britain.

These guides (and further guides as they are produced) can be found at: Gov.uk

Construction Products

On the 19 January 2021 the Government announced that the Office for Product Safety and Standards will be the new regulator for the safety of construction products. Go to Gov.uk

New Legislation

1. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No 1374)

From the 30 December 2020 the principal Regulations have now been amended by the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (All Tiers) (England) (Amendment) (No.4) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 1654) to impose new restrictions on gatherings and on businesses in England. Newcastle and the North East are now placed within Tier 4. The restrictions on businesses include the closure of certain businesses.

For further information go to: Gov.uk

2. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (North of England, North East and North West of England and Obligations of Undertakings (England) etc.) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.1057) came into force on the 30 September 2020.

This instrument amends the Regulations by placing further restrictions on gatherings indoors in seven local authorities in the north east that, following the amendments made by this instrument, comprise the “protected area” in those Regulations. Regulation 3 replaces the restriction on participating in gatherings in private dwellings in these regulations with a broader restriction on participating in gatherings in private dwellings and in other indoor settings.

3. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 1028)

These Regulations amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 such that employees and other persons providing services in public houses will be required to wear face coverings when they are in close proximity to members of the public unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.

4. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place and on Public Transport) (England) (Amendment) (No. 3) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 1026) 

These Regulations amend the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 to include theatres, restaurants, bars and public houses in the scope of the “relevant places” where members of the public are required to wear face coverings, except for in some limited cases such as when it is reasonably necessary for a person to remove their face covering to eat or drink.

They also require employees and other persons providing services in certain “relevant places”, including in shops, cafes, restaurants, bars and public houses to wear face coverings when they are in close proximity to members of the public unless they are exempt or have a reasonable excuse.

5. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Obligations of Hospitality Undertakings) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No 1008)

These Regulations require certain undertakings in the hospitality industry, to take measures to ensure that their customers follow the rules on social distancing.

6. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Collection of Contact Details etc and Related Requirements) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.1005)

These regulations impose a number of obligations on relevant persons, in order to protect against the risks arising from coronavirus. The main obligations are as follows.

Regulation 5 provides who the regulations apply to, in particular to a relevant person (as defined in regulation 4) who occupies relevant premises (also as defined in regulation 4). The regulation makes clear that where relevant premises are hired or used by more than one relevant person on a temporary basis, any obligations under the regulations will apply to that person for the time during which they hire or use the premises.

Regulation 6 provides that relevant persons must display and make available a QR code at relevant premises they occupy or operate to enable certain individuals who seek to enter the premises (in the circumstances in regulation 9) to scan that QR code.

Regulation 7 provides the requirement to request certain details (as set out in regulation 10), where an individual seeks to enter relevant premises (in a case set out in regulation 9), unless that individual is under 16 or has a mental or physical disability that means they are unable to provide the details.

7. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Wearing of Face Coverings in a Relevant Place) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 791). The Regulations require members of the public to wear face coverings whilst inside a relevant place specified in the Regulations, except in certain limited cases, from Friday 24 July. 

8. The Environmental Protection (Plastic Straws, Cotton Buds and Stirrers) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 971).

These Regulations, which apply in relation to England, prohibit persons from supplying or offering to supply certain plastic items in the course of a business. The prohibitions now apply, except for the prohibition of the supply of drinks products with single-use plastic straws attached to their packaging, which applies from 3 July 2021.

Part 2 prohibits the supply of single-use plastic straws to an end user, subject to certain exceptions. The exceptions include the supply of straws by registered pharmacies, the supply of straws by a catering establishment together with food or drink for immediate consumption, and the supply of straws which are medical devices or are for use for medical purposes. Part 2 also prohibits the supply of drinks products with single-use plastic straws attached to their packaging, subject to an exception for medical purposes.

Part 3 prohibits the supply of single-use plastic stemmed cotton buds to an end user, other than for medical, forensic or scientific purposes.

Part 4 prohibits the supply of plastic drink stirrers.

To see the Government guidance on the new Regulations go to Gov.uk.

9. The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Activities Involving Animals) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 SI 2019 No.1093, (known as "Lucy's Law" see Gov.uk) were fully implemented on the 6 April 2020.

Regulation 2 amends a licence condition relating to the activity of selling animals as pets (or with a view to being resold as pets). The amendment precludes the sale of puppies and kittens bred by anyone other than the licence holder. Regulation 3 makes transitional provision for existing licences to be treated, in relation to sales made on or after 6 April 2020, as subject to a condition in the terms set out in regulation 2.

10. The Food Information (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2019 SI 2019 No.1218. From the 1 October 2021, the manner in which food businesses must provide allergen labelling information for Prepacked for Direct Sale (PPDS) food will change. On that date, PPDS food will need to have a label with a full ingredients list with allergenic ingredients emphasised within it. For more information go to the FSA website. 

11. Offensive Weapons Act 2019. This Act received royal assent on the 16 May 2019. There are new criminal offences for selling corrosive substances to those under 18, possessing a corrosive substance in a public place and in relation to bladed articles. 

12. Tenant Fees Act 2019. This Act came into force on the 1 June 2019.

The only payments that landlords can charge in connection with a tenancy are:

  • the rent

  • a refundable tenancy deposit capped at no more than five week's rent where the annual rent is less than £50,000, or six weeks rent where the total annual rent is £50,000 or above

  • a refundable holding deposit (to reserve a property) capped at no more than one week's rent

  • payments to change the tenancy when requested by the tenant, capped at £50, or reasonable costs incurred if higher

  • payments associated with early termination of the tenancy, when requested by the tenant

  • payments in respect of utilities, communication services, TV licence and council tax; and

  • A default payment for late payment of rent and replacement of a lost key/security device, where required under a tenancy agreement.

All other fees are now prohibited payments and are not legal. Go to Guidance for the private rented sector 

Which? Policy Report on Online Marketplaces and Product Safety

Product testing by Which? has found a succession of unsafe products for sale on online marketplaces in recent years. This includes toxic levels of chemicals in children’s toys; child car seats that are illegal to use in the UK; smoke and carbon monoxide alarms that do not work, and USB chargers that pose a fire or electrocution risk.

With over 90% of people now using online marketplaces to buy an increasingly wide range of consumer goods, these sites are no longer novel ways of shopping but normal practice for millions of people.

The report (pdf 250 kb) sets out the need for action to strengthen the legal responsibilities of online marketplaces and ensure that public authorities have adequate powers, tools and resources to require action from marketplaces when people are put at risk. Specifically, they are calling for a number of actions in relation to the following so that people can be confident they are only buying safe products:

  • Online marketplaces should be required to ensure that consumer products offered for sale by sellers on their sites are safe.

  • The actions that are required by online marketplaces when unsafe products are identified should be clarified.

  • Equip enforcement officers with appropriate powers and resources to police online marketplaces.

  • There should be greater transparency obligations so that consumers are clear who they are buying from.

Petitions Committee Fireworks Report 2019

On the 5 November 2019 the House of Commons Petitions Committee published its report on Fireworks (pdf 1.2 mb).  The Committee expressed the view 'that the Government has so far failed to act in response to legitimate concerns about fireworks expressed through the e-petitions system. People rightly expect the Government to listen to them, take their concerns, and act.

Regulation of Property Agents Working Group - Final Report

On the 18 July 2019 the Regulation of Property Agents Working Group, Chaired by Lord Best released its final report. The working group was tasked with advising the Government on the way forward on a new approach to the regulation of property agents. The approach that has been recommended, includes proposals for:

  • the scope of a new system of regulation,

  • a new licensing regime,

  • a framework for codes of practice,

  • mandatory qualifications,

  • transparency an use of leasehold and freehold charges,

  • the set-up, functions and relationships of a new regulator; and,

  • assurance and enforcement under the new system.  

To see a copy of the full report go to Gov.uk 

Furniture and Furnishing (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988

On the 18 July 2019, the BEIS published its response to its consultation on upgrading the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) (Safety) Regulations 1988. The proposal is that it will focus outcomes and be underpinned by a set of essential safety requirements which all upholstered furniture must meet. In the meantime the existing Regulations will continue to apply.

To see the announcement from BEIS go to Gov.uk

Scams Awareness

The Trading Standards service continues to engage with national campaigns to alert consumers of the dangers of scams. This year's campaign took place over two weeks, from the 10 to the 23 June 2019. The first week looked at the group who have been identified as having the highest detriment from scams (Older people), whilst the second  week looked at those who are now targeted by scams in volume (Life established).

To see a photograph of the event held in Newcastle on the 11 June 2019 with Councillor Nick Kemp, Cabinet Member for the Environment and Climate Change, together with Nicola Diston and Neil Duffy from Newcastle CAB go to photo (pdf 301 kb). More information on the national campaign go to Scams

For more information on the related work go to our webpages on Doorstep Crime and No Cold Calling Zones and Charity Donation Fraud

Newsletter

The service aims to publish a newsletter on a bi-annual basis. To see the latest edition go to High Standard (pdf 1.2 mb)

Contact

Trading Standards service, Directorate of Operations and Regulatory Services, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8QH. Email: tradingstandards@newcastle.gov.uk  

 

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