City sunbed sting reveals only one breach of the law

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Lisburn and Castlereagh Council has carried out a sting operation to shine a light on the illegal use of sunbeds in the area.

But, in a positive result for the city, only one premises was found to be allowing underage use of its facilities.

In accordance with the Sunbeds Act (Northern Ireland) 2011, whereby it is illegal for a person under the age of 18 to use a sunbed, Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council took steps to ensure local businesses were complying with the legislation.

To promote the importance of the legislation, the council organised a ‘Sunbed Test Exercise’ to assess the controls and procedures local businesses have in place to prevent under 18 year olds using sunbeds.

The council requested the help of a 14 year old volunteer who visited a total of fifteen premises in the Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council area.

It was identified that one out of fifteen premises disregarded the legislation.

It was willing to let the 14 year old use a sun bed – allowing her to be exposed to harmful Ultraviolet (UV) radiation which is one of the key causes of skin cancer.

Chairman of the Environmental Services Committee, Councillor Brian Hanvey said he would like to advise sunbed operators to take responsibility, adhere to the legislation or face the consequences.

He said, “Due to the increase in skin cancer in recent years and incidents involving children suffering burns after using sunbeds, new legislation was introduced in 2011 to restrict their use.

“The purpose of the sunbed test exercise was to check that premises operating sunbeds within the Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council area were conforming to the legislation.

“Council officers have been extremely proactive in advising sunbed operators of their legal obligations and the dangers of UV radiation exposure, especially to those under 18.

“Prior to the exercise, officers visited premises with sunbeds and held a free sunbed seminar, which provided key advice and information, urging businesses to be accountable and take the appropriate action to ensure the legislation is obeyed. Sunbed operators should be aware that the council has the authority to serve fixed penalty notices of up to £250 to those who breach the law.

“It is vitally important that businesses make themselves familiar with the Sunbed Act (Northern Ireland) 2011, legislation and enforce the legal requirements,” he concluded.

For further information, please contact the Council’s Environmental Health Service Unit, Health and Safety section at ehealth@lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk, call 028 9250 9394 or visit www.lisburncastlereagh.gov.uk/business/health-safety-at-work/sunbeds.

Information can also be found by visiting the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety website www.dhsspsni.gov.uk.