Behind the scenes of the pandemic: The role of environmental health teams

New recruits for the environmental health team in Stevenage

The environmental health team in Stevenage have been taking on new challenges through the COVID-19 pandemic - Credit: Stevenage Borough Council

The coronavirus pandemic has changed the way people work across all sectors - from home working to furlough, most of us have had to adapt. 

The role of Stevenage Borough Council's environmental health team is one that had to change and adapt overnight - and they are now being recognised for the work they do in helping to combat the virus in the town.

Behind the scenes, the environmental health team been instrumental in the success of local contact tracing - in collaboration with Herts County Council.

Officers have provided self-isolation support and signposted people to agencies that can assist. The current Environmental Health and Licencing team has adapted to new demands, but the level of activity is to be stepped-up shortly, as new team members have just joined.

Maurice Clay, senior health and licencing manager at Stevenage Borough Council said: “As for everyone, recent times have been challenging for the team. They have adapted incredibly well to new demands, as well as continuing with every day business where possible.

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"For example, we saw an increase of more than 100 per cent in neighbour noise complaints year-on-year during the first lockdown and a big surge in complaints about bonfires. 

"There’s also been a fantastic collaborative effort to respond to the pandemic, not only from the wider council team, but also involving other partners, including Herts County Council, Herts Fire and Rescue and the Police. All of these agencies have really pulled together to help businesses and residents get through the crisis, meet their responsibilities and most importantly, stay safe and protected.” 

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Some of the teams work includes working with businesses in collaboration with police and trading standards to support them in complying with regulations and  working with HMO landlords to help ensure precautions can be put in place in shared accommodation.

From December 9 to February 10, the team have carried out COVID interventions with 65 businesses in the borough, and dealt with 136 contact tracing cases.

A total of 278 service requests relating to COVID safety have been followed-up from July 2020 to date. 

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