Consultation on new Housing Conditions Law

| March 4, 2013 | 0 Comments

Islanders are being asked for their views on housing conditions in Jersey and about how they can affect people’s physical health, and their social and mental wellbeing, as a consultation into the Public Health and Safety (Dwellings) Jersey Law 201- is launched by the Health and Social Services Department.

There is a seminar next week at the Town Hall in St. Helier at 6.30pm on Tuesday 5th March 2013 so that anyone who is interested can hear more about how the proposed Law may affect them.

Val Cameron, Head of Health Protection Services, said: “The key principle of the law is that any residential premises should provide a safe and healthy environment for any potential occupier.

“The home is central to life and fulfils the human need for shelter. It also meets the human desires for comfort, security, privacy, independence and personal identity and is central to achieving health and well-being.”

Inadequate housing conditions can cause health problems with the following two categories of health risk:

• Physical Health. Cold and dampness, indoor pollutants, poor design quality and safety hazards are some of the housing related problems that may lead to excess winter deaths, the prevalence of asthma and other respiratory diseases and accidental injury. The risk of fatality in premises which have inadequate fire precautions and means of escape where accommodation is shared.

• Social and Mental Well-Being. Problems such as noise, overcrowding and the feeling of being ‘trapped’ in poor quality accommodation can affect mental health and apply pressure to social well being.

Key features of the draft Law include:

1. Minimum health and safety standards with respect to dwellings and providing a mechanism for improving health and well being

2. Promoting the health and safety of persons in and about dwellings along with the conservation of energy and water supplied to dwellings, and for authorizing inspectors to take action on the Minister’s behalf

3. The Minister may issue codes of practice to provide practical guidance in respect of any provision of the Law

4. Allows an Environmental Health Officer to identify prescribed hazards and assess the level of risk posed by each hazard and take appropriate action. This may consist of the issuing of hazard awareness advice or a notice. The inspector is also empowered to give advice about energy and water conservation.

5. Issuance of an improvement notice, requiring the taking of action to remove the hazard or reduce the risk posed by it to an acceptable level, a prohibition notice, banning occupation of the dwelling until such action is taken or in extreme cases, a demolition notice requiring the dwelling to be demolished.

Mrs Cameron added: “The draft Law will change the way dwellings are inspected to a risk based approach which determines the hazards and how likely injury or illness is to occur. This system is based on a huge amount of data on the reasons for hospital admissions in the UK and the links to poor housing conditions. We look forward to receiving the views of Islanders on this important topic.

The passing of the new law will be subject to the usual political processes, once we have taken on board feedback received during this public consultation process.”

The draft Law can be found at: http://www.gov.je/Government/Consultations/Pages/HousingConditionsLaw.aspx

Written comments on the Law should be forwarded by 30th April 2013, to Health Protection Services, Maison le Pape, The Parade, St Helier, JE2 3PU

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