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Impact Assessment (IA) guidelines provided by the European Commission are being reviewed after claims that science is becoming increasingly politicised. The European Unions decisionmaking is based on the findings of IAs and advice from the scientific community, which influences what regulation is needed. But critics claim the evidence is prone to political manipulation and influence from a wide variety of interest groups. S IN NEW RIEF B Deaths from legal highs have doubled in four years IEF BR S IN NEW According to EurActiv a guide to European Union (EU) news and policy updates the EU is considering delaying the elimination of roaming mobile charges. The draft proposal document makes no mention of eradicating roaming charges by 15 December 2015 the date previously proposed by parliament. The text is expected to undergo further revisions. East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, and Angus councils won the Association for Public Service Excellences Best Public/Public Partnership Working Initiative award in September, for their work protecting vulnerable and elderly residents from cold callers. As a result of their call-blocking studies, more than 100 local authorities now offer the technology to vulnerable or elderly residents. Government urged to ban legal highs 1 2 3 4 Click numbers for more stories The government must outlaw the sale of potentially lethal legal highs, which are becoming endemic on the UKs high streets, says the Local Government Association (LGA). Deaths from legal highs have more than doubled in the past four years, from 26 in 2009 to 60 in 2013. Latest figures reveal that they killed far more people than ecstasy (43) last year. The synthetic psychoactive drugs, with brand names such as Clockwork Orange, Bliss and Mary Jane, have been directly linked to poisoning, emergency hospital admissions including in mental health services and deaths. They dodge laws by being sold as not fit for human consumption, bypassing chemical compositions that are already banned. They are often advertised as plant food, incense, orresearch chemicals. The LGA which represents almost 400 councils in England and Wales, and which, last year, took over responsibility for public health wants a complete ban on the sale of legal highs. Councillor Ann Lucas OBE, chairman of the LGAs safer and stronger communities board, said: These are not legal highs these are lethal highs, and they are deceptively dangerous. As they are unregulated, no one knows what is really in them, or what effect they will have. Legal-high shops are becoming endemic on our high streets, which is why we are calling on government to introduce robust and vigorous new laws to tackle them. The LGA wants the UK to follow legislation introduced in Ireland four years ago, which bans the sale of all brain-altering drugs, with exceptions including tobacco and alcohol. IEF BR S IN EW N In October, Rathy Jewellers was fined 4,500 and Raj Mahalingam, a former company director, 3,000 for selling 56 rings labelled as gold, platinum or palladium without hallmark stamps. The case was brought by Brent Trading Standards and heard at Willesden Magistrates Court. 1 2 3 4 Click numbers for more stories UK product standards need to change, says coroner TSI is backing a call by the coroner in the latest Beko fridge-fire death case to reform the system around product safety standards. At the inquest, last month, into the death of Santosh Benjamin-Muthiah who was overcome by smoke at his home in November 2010 coroner Andrew Walker said he accepted recommendations by Hertfordshire Trading Standards and the London Fire Brigade about the way safety problems are recorded. He will now urge the government to reform safety standards. TSIs product safety lead officer, Christine Heemskerk, has been campaigning for more than a decade for a comprehensive injury and accident database to make product safety regulation more effective. She said: A review of how safety problems are recorded in the UK is very much overdue we have been without a central database for more than 10 years now. A comprehensive injury and accident database would help highlight areas of concern, to enable authorities to take appropriate action quickly, to help prevent accidents, and improve product safety. I have no doubt that such a system would save lives. TS TODAY WOLLERTZ / SHUTTERSTOCK IEF N BR SI NEW