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Ealing April Cabinet meeting

Ealing introduces first UK safe zone outside abortion clinic

Ealing Council’s cabinet members have taken the decision to implement a public spaces protection order (PSPO) around the Marie Stopes clinic in Mattock Lane, Ealing.

At the meeting held on Tuesday, 10 April 2018 at Ealing Town Hall, cabinet considered the report from the council’s community safety team, including several months of evidence about activity outside the clinic, the recent public consultation results and engagement with interested parties.

Cabinet members agreed with the report recommendations that a PSPO should be introduced to address activities that are having a detrimental effect on the quality of life of those in the locality.

Like other PSPOs in the borough, the order will be introduced for three years with a review to be held after six months. The review will include impact analysis and feedback from interested parties, council officers and police.

Background to the decision to implement the PSPO is that concerns raised that those attending the clinic faced harassment and intimidation from groups who positioned themselves outside the clinic.

Councillors were satisfied that a PSPO is both necessary and would provide a proportionate response to the behaviours that have been evidenced which have had a detrimental impact on persons in the PSPO area.

In making their decision, councillors had to consider the statutory framework for making a PSPO and decide whether the statutory tests were met.

Councillors agreed that the need to provide safe, unimpeded access to the clinic in the safe zone can be balanced with the Equality Act and the European Convention on Human Rights.

The safe zone can be introduced immediately once the five day call in period has passed which would be Monday, 23 April 2018. Once a PSPO is introduced, anyone who breaches the order would be committing a criminal offence and can be fined or prosecuted under the law.

As part of the PSPO, a designated zone has been made west of the clinic in Mattock Lane for members of represented groups who will be able to carry out protests and vigils. These activities will be subject to several restrictions which will not apply in any areas outside that covered by the PSPO.

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