The safe zone around the Mattock Lane clinic in Ealing will remain in place until at least 2027.
The decision was taken at a meeting of Ealing Council’s cabinet last night (Wednesday 7 February).
The Mattock Lane Safe Zone public spaces protection order (PSPO) was due to end in April but this decision allows it to run for another 3 years, until April 2027.
The PSPO, when introduced in 2018, was the first of its kind outside a clinic in the UK and breaches of it can result in a fine or lead to prosecution.
It was put in place after evidence showed that the activities of pro-life and pro-choice protest groups outside the clinic had been having a persistent and continuing detrimental effect on the quality of life of others in the locality, including residents, visitors to the clinic, clinic staff, and those passing through the area.
Consultation and extension
An 8-week formal consultation started on 23 November 2023 and finished on 15 January 2024. There were 2,165 responses. 97% of those who responded to the question about the future of the order said the order should be renewed for 3 years.
Councillor Jasbir Anand, the council’s cabinet member for tackling inequality, said: “The PSPO has most definitely had the effect of significantly improving the quality of life of local people.
“It continues to protect our residents, clinic staff and users of the clinic from the kind of unacceptable intimidation and interference they previously had to endure.”
Council leader Peter Mason added: “The decision to extend the public space protection order at Mattock Lane we took this week will ensure that we continue to ensure the safety and freedom of local residents. Women should feel safe in the borough.
“The Mattock Lane safe zone was introduced in response to detailed evidence that the activities of protesters outside the clinic had a detrimental effect on the quality of life and meant that women using the clinic, its staff and local people felt unsafe.”
Details of the PSPO
A designated area created by the PSPO to the west of the clinic was created to enable the various groups involved to continue their activities subject to certain restrictions. Outside of the area covered by the PSPO there are no restrictions in place.
A full copy of the PSPO and a high-resolution map detailing the area it covers, the location of the clinic and the designated zone is available to view online. The evidence and documents available to the council when the order was made in April 2018 can also be viewed.
As well as the online consultation, statutory and non-statutory consultees were written to directly including the Metropolitan Police, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime, the NHS, the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, MSI Reproductive Choices, and pro-life and pro-choice represented groups identified as having previously taken part in protest and vigil outside the clinic.
The full report and supporting documents that went to cabinet last night can be viewed on the council’s website.
All cabinet decisions are subject to a call-in period.