A Home Office decision to continue providing licenses to allow festivals to undertake back-of-house drug testing has been described as life-saving by Parklife Festival co-founder and Manchester’s night time economy advisor Sacha Lord.

Last summer, the Home Office prevented drug testing at the LN Gaiety-owned Manchester festival for the first time since 2014. That move led to artists, festival industry operators and a cross-party group of more than 30 MPs writing to the then home secretary Suella Braverman requesting she reverse the “disastrous decision” to block onsite drug testing at festivals.

The Home Office said licences have been issued under strict conditions to drug testing organisations to operate at some of the leading festivals in the UK this summer.

Back-of-house drug testing uses samples of confiscated or surrendered drugs, allowing on-site laboratories to send out public alerts to festivalgoers in real time if extremely potent drugs are detected. The service aims to protect the public and help prevent drug-related harm.

Supporters say these warnings save lives and give medical teams a better idea of how to treat anyone who becomes seriously ill after taking drugs, as well as tracking the prevalence of emerging threats, such as synthetic opioids, so that police and health support services can take swift action to contain the problem should any be identified.

The Home Office’s announcement that on-site testing in pop-up labs should go ahead means major drug testing providers such as The Loop can now test drugs on-site at festivals.

Lord said, “Drug testing at festivals is undeniably critical, and I am extremely pleased that the Home Office has approved their ongoing use. There is no safe way to take drugs, and so testing quite literally saves lives, and can help uncover new and potentially lethal drugs which may be new to the market.

“I would like to thank the cross-party MPs who have supported this move, and those behind the scenes at the Home Office who have worked so hard to ensure we have these licenses in place ahead of this year’s festival season.”