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Testing find 56 per cent of sandwich bars in breach of new allergen law; Marsh Barton Station opened by Transport Secretary and our libraries prepare for a summer of fun!

Testing finds 56 per cent of sandwich bars in breach of new allergen law

We’re urging businesses, such as delis or bakeries who prepare and then package food for sale, not to put their customers at risk and to read trading standards guidance to help them stay on the right side of the law.

The warning comes after our trading standards officers found that 56 out of 100 businesses they tested in Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay were in breach of new Government rules which require full ingredient and allergen labelling on all food made on premises and pre-packed for direct sale.

You can find out more about the testing and the results in the full story on the news page of our website.

Businesses unsure of the new law can find the guidance on our website or on the Food Standards Agency website. Additionally, businesses can sign up for news and alerts from the Food Standards Agency. We also offer bespoke regulatory business support for all sectors of the economy – more information can be found on our business pages.

Marsh Barton Station opened by Transport Secretary

Transport Secretary Mark Harper officially opened the brand-new railway station at Marsh Barton in Exeter earlier this week.

We’ve delivered the £16 million project in collaboration with Network Rail and Great Western Railway (GWR) with contributions from the Heart of the South West Local Enterprise Partnership, Exeter City Council and Teignbridge District Council and over £3 million from the Department for Transport,

The new station will better connect the community and offer greater access to employment, business and education opportunities. Crucially, it will also provide a quick, alternative link to the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital, allowing residents to access essential medical services more easily.

The station will be served by hourly Great Western Railway services between Paignton and Exmouth, with half-hourly services at peak times. The two platforms are linked by the pedestrian overbridge which has ramps to facilitate cyclists and provide disabled access to the whole station.

Read the full story on the news page of our website.

Working in partnership to keep you safe from scams

People in the UK lost £1.2 billion to fraud last year – that’s the equivalent of £2,300 every minute! Our Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service works with other councils across the country, the police and adult safeguarding services, to protect the public – particularly the elderly and vulnerable – from being scammed.

This week is the National Scams Awareness Campaign run by Citizens Advice, another of our key partners, who help us to inform and warn the public, and support victims of scams.

Many scams originate from fake texts, calls and emails and to help protect the public the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) and the City of London Police set up the Suspicious Email Reporting Service (SERS). This enables the public to forward suspicious emails to an automated system that scans them for malicious links. Since its launch in April 2020, almost 21 million reports have been made to the service and 235,000 malicious website links have been removed from the internet.

If you have been a victim of a scam, we advise that you contact the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133. They will let you know what to do next, and give you support on the issues you might be facing. 

Have your say on proposed improvements in Alphington, Exeter

We’re asking local people for their views on our proposals to reduce traffic speeds, increase parking and improve walking facilities in Alphington, Exeter.

Our online consultation is now open, and over the next three weeks, we want residents to give their opinions on several options including pavement widening, measures to reduce traffic speeds, changes to existing parking and increased parking provision for local people.

It follows our consultation last year where we asked for views on different options for three areas of Alphington. Our new consultation aims to build on that with a range of proposals to improve facilities for active travel in the Church Road/Chudleigh Road corridor, between the Alphin Brook roundabout and the double mini roundabout.

It’s all part of a series of projects to improve local highways infrastructure as the new South West Exeter development is delivered. The development is expected to deliver 2,500 new homes and employment land, and £55.1 million of funding has been awarded to us by the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund to enable the improvements.

You can find out more about the proposals, and how to have your say on them, in the full story on the news page of our website.

All school-aged children eligible for free flu vaccine this winter

All primary and secondary school-aged children in England will be offered a free flu vaccine from September for the 2023 to 2024 season, alongside younger children aged two and three years old.

Earlier this year the Government announced that all primary school children and infants aged two and three years old will be offered the flu vaccine. Now it has been confirmed that the programme will expand to pupils in secondary school years 7 to 11, who will be offered the vaccine as a nasal spray through their school’s vaccination programme from Friday 1 September.

It means that pupils receiving the vaccine will have direct protection from the flu. More vulnerable groups will also be indirectly protected by reducing the spread of the virus.

Anyone eligible for the flu vaccine is encouraged to take up the offer from September before the flu season begins, to give themselves the best possible protection in winter and reduce the spread of the virus.

Ready, Set, Read!

Free fun and games for children are on offer throughout the summer holidays in our libraries across Devon, including the ever popular Summer Reading Challenge, which aims to encourage children to keep up their reading skills at a time when they traditionally dip.

Lucy Banks from Libraries Unlimited said:

“Having regular access to books and encouragement to read for pleasure can be a game-changer in setting children up for a lifetime of learning and enjoyment.

“Finding things for children to do across the summer can really challenge budgets, so we’re pleased to be offering the Summer Reading Challenge, along with many of our summer activities completely for free. That’s in addition to our regular programme of children’s groups and activities including Lego and coding clubs, story times, arts and crafts and more.”

Parents can sign up their children for the Summer Reading Challenge for free at any library in Devon. Children set their own goals on how many books they commit to reading, and collect special stickers along the way. Once they finish, they get a medal and are entered into a free prize draw!

Find out more on the Libraries Unlimited website.

Claim child benefit online

The Government offers parents and carers up to £1,248 a year to help them with the costs of raising their first child – and up to £826.80 for any additional children.  

With the rising cost of living it’s more important than ever that families know they are entitled to claim, as well as how to make a claim.

You can claim Child Benefit from the day after you’ve registered the birth of your child, or once a child comes to live with you, and it can be backdated for up to three months. You’ll also receive National Insurance credits which count towards your State Pension.

Claiming is easy and can be done on the Government’s website.

It’s Food Safety Week!

? Most people love a summer BBQ, but if not done properly, food poisoning can easily become an unwelcome guest.

If you’re planning a BBQ this weekend, remember to follow the Food Standards Agency’s four C’s of food hygiene

? clean hands, equipment and surfaces thoroughly

? keep chilled foods cold and out of the fridge for no more than four hours

? cook food in line with its guide for time and temperature

❌ avoid cross-contamination