ROUTINE environmental health inspections could re-start in the coming months after being paused because of coronavirus.

Since March, Fife Council's environmental health team have been re-directed to help respond to the pandemic but planning work to re-start checks on places such as takeaways and restaurants is now under way.

Lisa McCann, Fife Council's service manager environmental health (food and workplace safety) protective services, said they had been "heavily involved" in the response to COVID-19.

Speaking to members of the council's environment and protective services committee, she explained: "Routine activities have been greatly affected by coronavirus and have almost stopped because of this because we have had to divert resources towards the pandemic.

"This was done with agreement with Food Standards Scotland.

"The environmental health team have been heavily involved in the public health response within Fife during the COVID pandemic; responding to complaints and concerns, advising businesses and colleagues and also we had three officers spend time with NHS Fife Test and Protect.

"One environmental health officer spent six months as trace and protect team lead with NHS Fife. We have also been involved in various local and national forums."

Committee convener Councillor Ross Vettraino said he was proud of the way the team had responded to the emergency and played their part in the biggest public health crisis they had known.

"The team have continued responding to the public and providing advice to businesses," he said. "They have also been active in local and national forums including the environmental health and trading standards COVID expert group and Scottish Government working groups.

"We will be following the advice issued by Food Standards Scotland as to when inspections can restart but it is gratifying to know that work is under way to plan for the resumption of normal business.

"It will be a great step forward when environmental health officers can resume their duties and continue to ensure health and safety standards are maintained and improved across Fife.”