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.

New Legislation

1. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (North East of England) Regulations 2020 SI 2020 No.1010. came into force on the 18 September 2020.

The Regulations impose restricted opening hours on businesses selling goods or providing services in certain areas in North East England. These businesses may not operate between 22:00 hours and 05:00 hours, unless they are offering food and drink for consumption off the premises, provided by delivery. The Regulations further provide that the businesses subject to the restrictions on opening may offer food and drink for consumption on the premises only if it is served to customers sitting at a table. The Regulations also impose further restrictions on gatherings in those areas. The closures and restrictions last until they are terminated by a direction given by the Secretary of State or the Regulations expire under Regulation 12.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No. 2) (England) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 684) require the closure of certain businesses as listed, to protect against the risks to public health from coronavirus. To see the related Government advice go to Gov.UK.

Re-Opening Certain Businesses and Venues on the 4, 10, 11, 13, 25 July & 15 August 2020

Pubs, Restaurants, Hairdressers, Places of Worship, Cinemas, Community Centres, Museums and outdoor amusements can now be open, so long as they take measures to prevent the spread of infection.

5. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 719) amended the principal Regulations. These Regulations now permit the following to open: outdoor swimming pools and water parks (from 11th July 2020); nail bars and salons, tanning booths and salons, spas and beauty salons, massage parlours, tattoo parlours, and body and skin piercing services (from 13th July 2020). To see the related Government Guidance go to Gov.uk(External link) 

6. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No.3) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.750) came into force on 18 July and enable local authorities to give Directions relating to individual premises, Directions relating to events and Directions relating to public outdoor places

The powers to make a direction may only be exercised where conditions specified in the Regulations are met.

These conditions are that that giving such a direction responds to a serious and imminent threat to public health, that the direction is necessary for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, controlling or providing a public health response to the incidence or spread of infection by coronavirus in the local authority’s area, and that the prohibitions, requirements or restrictions imposed by the direction are a proportionate means of achieving that purpose.

7. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.788) come into force on the 25 July 2020. The following businesses are permitted to be open: indoor fitness and dance studios, indoor gyms, indoor sports courts and facilities, and indoor swimming pools, including indoor facilities at water parks.

8. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) (Amendment) (No.3) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No.863) came into force on the 15 August 2020. The following businesses are permitted to be open: casinos, indoor skating rinks, indoor play areas, bowling alleys and conference centres and exhibition halls.

Nightclubs, dance halls, discotheques, sexual entertainment venues and hostess bars must remain closed. 

9. The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (No.2) (England) (Amendment) (No.4) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 986). The Regulations now require that people may not participate in social gatherings, in any place, in groups of more than 6, unless they are members of the same household, two linked households, or exceptions apply.

10. 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. 

11. 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 apply from the twenty-first day after the coming into force of these Regulations, 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.

12. 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.

13. 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. 

14. 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. 

15. 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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