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Ealing Council confirms Mattock Lane Safe Zone to be extended for another three years

Following a eight week public consultation with residents across Ealing, the council has confirmed that the Mattock Lane Safe Zone outside the MSI Reproductive Choices clinic will remain in place for another three years starting from April 2024. 

According to Ealing Council, there were 2,165 responses to the consultation which took place between 23 November 2023 and 15 January 2024. 97% of those who responded said the safe zone should stay.

The safe zone was first made a public spaces protection order (PSPO) in 2018 and came following concerns about the actions of pro-life and pro-choice protest groups outside the MSI Reproductive Choices clinic.

At a Ealing Council cabinet meeting on 7 February 2024, it was agreed to continue the safe zone.

In 2021, the initial 3 year PSPO was renewed following public consultation. If anyone breaches the conditions of the order, they can be fined or prosecuted.

Ealing Council said that in 2018, it “found evidence that the activities had caused a persistent and continuing detrimental effect on the quality of life of people in the area around the clinic, including residents, visitors to the clinic, clinic staff, and those passing through the area.”

Speaking to EALING.NEWS, Louise McCudden, UK head of external affairs at MSI Reproductive Choices commented: “We are delighted that Ealing Council has renewed the Safe Access Zone around our abortion clinic. Nobody should face harassment or intimidation while accessing healthcare.”

Ms McCudden added: “Parliament has voted to introduce similar zones around every clinic in England and Wales but the first draft of the implementation guidance from the Home Office was very concerning. It left many loopholes in place for anti-choice groups to continue their harassment. We hope the Home Secretary listens to the views of frontline healthcare staff and the people accessing abortion care, so we can get the zones up and running in line with what Parliament, and the public, want.”

In a statement, 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.”

 

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