This motion from the Liberal Democrat Group on Lancashire County Council specifically relates to their recent Cryptosporidium outbreak, but may be useful for council groups in other areas. The motion specifically draws attention to the need for better regulation of major industries whose activities can affect public health, and links in to the proposed awarding of licenses to drill for oil and gas in the area.
The second paragraph of this motion was an amendment from the Labour Group, however the motion as a result was passed by the council despite our group being in opposition.
TEXT OF MOTION
Over the last few weeks we have witnessed United Utilities struggle to contain an outbreak of Cryptosporidium. Apart from the obvious public health risk, this has led to business damage and great inconvenience for over 300,000 residents in Lancashire. The prolonged period for which this situation has continued appears to have been due to a failure of inspection and regulatory procedures and an apparently inadequate contingency plan for dealing with such an outbreak.
Lancashire County Council recognises the work of the multi-agency strategic coordination group that is chaired by Lancashire County Council’s Director of Public Health and includes a number of district councils and government departments. This Council further recognises the work of LCC’s Emergency Planning and Public Health Teams in preventing any major sickness outbreaks.
Lancashire County Council therefore instructs the Chief Executive to write to the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Minister for Health and to the Minister for Energy and Climate Change drawing their attention to the inadequacy of regulation in major industries, particularly in the light of the 14th round of onshore oil and gas licence awards covering much of England. We also request that Central Government should put in place rigorous, independent regulatory and inspection regimes for industries which affect Public Health, above all improved purification of domestic water supplies, and the treatment and disposal of contaminated waste water.
Actually we are not exactly in opposition in Lancashire where we hold the balance of power. We have a written agreement with Labour which gives us the chairs of both main Scrutiny and Executive Scrutiny Committees. As the originator of the motion I was delighted to be seconded by the Independent Councillor within whose Division both of Lancashire's the Labour and Conservative councillors.
Professor Bill Winlow
Chair of Executive Scrutiny and Scrutiny Committees
County Councillor for Preston West
Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group
Was the motion as above passed? If so what changes have been put into action locally?
The motion asks that letters are written to highlight inadequacies in regulation and so what would have been different if what the motion was requesting had already been in place?
Yes the motion was passed and letters have now been sent out. We will be inviting United Utilities to account for themselves at Scrutiny Committee as this is a Public Health matter. We will also be taking up the public health issues in relation to Fracking.