Essential service that doesn’t only tackle fly-tipping
IF you thought a council’s environmental department just dealt with a few fly-tipping incidents and the odd noise complaint, think again.
A report by Carmarthenshire Council’s environmental protection service has revealed the scope of its activities and demands upon its officers.
The service deals with food hygiene and standards, pollution, pest control advice, all sorts of nuisances, anti-social behaviour, communicable disease and stray dogs.
A lot of work is planned, but officers must also be able to respond to major food incidents, food poisoning outbreaks and events like the fly plague which struck Llanelli this summer – as well as responding to noise complaints during unsociable hours.
There were 1,965 registered food businesses and premises in Carmarthenshire, as of April this year, comprising everything from takeaways to hotels, schools to care homes, and supermarkets to producers.
The inspection routine for these premises is dictated by their risk assessment category.
During the current financial year 950 inspections are planned, along with an estimated 78 revisits
Inspections result in a rating from zero, meaning urgent improvement required, to five, meaning hygiene standards are very good.
Council chiefs are keen to expand a paid-for food hygiene service which provides tailored advice for businesses.
Officers also carry out shellfish and water sampling at commercial fishing beds, and will do extra microbiological testing of local food manufacturers, producers and retailers this financial year.
The environmental protection service, which has a £1.5 million budget, also has a duty to ensure that milk from farms affected by communicable disease – primarily bovine tuberculosis – is pasteurised.
Officers must also manage around 70 industrial processes, ranging from petrol stations to cement batching to pet food manufacture.
Workplace accidents, which totalled 83 in Carmarthenshire last year, have to be reported to the department or the Health and Safety Executive.
The service also liaises with Dyfed-Powys Police to register and licence scrap collectors and scrap yard operators.
Noise issues, meanwhile, take up a lot of environmental service officer time.
Carmarthenshire Council’s environmental protection service deals with fly-tipping and