Environmental Health Department (Local Authorities) role

The role of Environmental Health Departments in Local Authorities

Environmental health encompasses various disciplines aimed at preventing illness and injury by managing environmental factors. EHDs are pivotal in this endeavour, working tirelessly to maintain high standards of public health through a range of regulatory, advisory, and enforcement activities. In this blog, Dr Richard Dune delves into the significant role these departments play and provides insight into how organisations can comply with their regulations using ComplyPlus™ legislation and regulatory compliance management software and training.

Key facts and statistics

Environmental Health Departments address numerous issues, from food safety to pollution control. Some key statistics underscore the importance of their work:

  • Food safety - The Food Standards Agency (FSA) reports that local authorities conducted over 500,000 food hygiene inspections in the past year, ensuring food businesses comply with safety standards.
  • Health and safety - According to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), local authorities carried out around 90,000 proactive health and safety inspections, significantly reducing workplace accidents and injuries.
  • Environmental protection - Environmental health officers (EHOs) manage thousands of noise complaints annually, addressing over 500,000 cases related to environmental noise.

These statistics highlight the extensive reach and impact of EHDs on public health and safety.

Key definitions

To better understand the scope of EHDs, it's essential to define some key terms:

  • Environmental Health Officer (EHO) - A professional responsible for enforcing health and safety standards, investigating public health concerns, and providing advice on environmental issues.
  • Public health - The science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities through education, policy-making, and research.
  • Legislation and regulation - Laws and rules established by authorities to govern public health and safety standards, including the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Environmental Protection Act 1990.

The role of EHDs

Food safety and hygiene

One of the primary responsibilities of EHDs is ensuring food safety. EHOs conduct regular inspections of food businesses to verify compliance with hygiene standards. They assess food handling, storage, and preparation practices, ensuring they meet the FSA's stringent requirements. Failure to comply can result in fines, closures, or legal action, emphasising the critical role of EHDs in preventing foodborne illnesses.

Health and safety

EHDs also oversee health and safety in workplaces, particularly in sectors like retail, hospitality, and leisure. They enforce regulations under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, ensuring that businesses implement proper safety measures. This includes risk assessments, employee training, and the maintenance of safe working environments. EHOs play a pivotal role in reducing workplace accidents and promoting a culture of safety.

Environmental protection

Protecting the environment from pollution and other hazards is another key function of EHDs. They address issues such as air and water quality, waste management, and noise pollution. By enforcing the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and other relevant legislation, EHOs help mitigate environmental risks, contributing to overall public health and wellbeing.

Recommended best practices

Organisations can enhance compliance with EHD regulations by adopting the following best practices:

  • Regular training - Ensure that all employees receive regular training on health, safety, and environmental regulations. ComplyPlus™ offers comprehensive courses tailored to various industries.
  • Robust policies and procedures - Develop and implement clear policies and procedures that align with current legislation. Regularly review and update these documents to reflect changes in the regulatory landscape.
  • Regular audits and inspections - Conduct internal audits and inspections to identify potential compliance gaps. Use findings to improve practices and prevent violations.
  • Effective record-keeping - Maintain detailed records of all training, inspections, and compliance activities. This documentation can be crucial during regulatory reviews or investigations.
  • Engage with EHOs - Build a collaborative relationship with your local EHOs. They can provide valuable advice and guidance on meeting regulatory requirements and improving practices.


To ensure your organisation remains compliant with EHD regulations, consider the following steps:

  • Invest in training - Regular, up-to-date training is essential for all staff. Utilise platforms like ComplyPlus™ to access industry-specific courses that cover the latest legislation and best practices.
  • Implement compliance software - Leverage ComplyPlus™ software to manage your compliance activities efficiently. This tool helps track training, manage documentation, and ensure adherence to regulatory requirements.
  • Stay informed - Keep abreast of changes in legislation and regulations by subscribing to updates from relevant authorities such as the HSE, FSA, and local councils.


Environmental Health Departments within local authorities play a vital role in safeguarding public health, safety, and the environment. By enforcing legislation and promoting best practices, they help prevent illness, injury, and environmental damage. Organisations can enhance compliance and protect their stakeholders by investing in training, implementing robust policies, and using compliance management tools like ComplyPlus™.

Ensure your organisation meets all statutory and regulatory requirements with ComplyPlus™. Click here to learn more and explore our comprehensive training courses and compliance management software today.

About the author

Dr Richard Dune

With over 20 years of experience, Richard blends a rich background in NHS, the private sector, academia, and research settings. His forte lies in clinical R&D, advancing healthcare tech, workforce development and governance. His leadership ensures regulatory compliance and innovation align seamlessly.

The role of Environmental Health Departments in Local Authorities - ComplyPlus™ - The Mandatory Training Group UK -

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