Ahead of the Christmas market season, a new report has revealed that 237 UK councils currently have no budget assigned to implementing the pending Protect Duty regulations.

Heald, a supplier of hostile vehicle mitigation systems, sent 426 Freedom of Information requests (FOIs) to councils. Of those contacted, 125 councils failed to respond, and 29 refused to provide the information.

The total value for all seven councils that have currently spent or assigned budget to the legislation is £3,170,857. According to the research, only seven UK councils have spent or had assigned budget to implement measures ahead of the Protect Duty coming into force:

  • Southend-on-Sea Council – £2,271,145.13
  • Bath & North East Somerset Council – £782,000
  • Salford City Council – £94,618
  • Coventry City Council – £20,000
  • London Borough of Greenwich – £1,094
  • Darlington Borough Council – £1,000
  • Orkney Islands Council – £1,000

Designed to provide better protection from terrorism for the British public, the legislation will impact the running of events and venues. Expected to come into force in early 2023, the new law will require many businesses to formally assess terrorism risk for the first time.

The legislation, also known as Martyn’s Law, is the result of years of campaigning by Figen Murray OBE, the mother of Martyn Hett who was killed in the Manchester Arena terrorist attack in 2017. The legislation formalises the responsibilities and actions that venues must take to mitigate the risk of a terrorist attack.

Heald managing director Debbie Heald MBE said, “With Christmas markets attracting hundreds and thousands of public members each winter, and this being the first year without Covid restrictions, it’s vital that such spaces are secured in order to maximise attendance to ensure these types of events continue year after year.

“The new Protect Duty legislation has been in the pipeline for quite some time now and has been discussed in parliament on numerous occasions. It’s surprising to see how few councils have started to plan for the pending measures.

“Protect Duty will have a big impact on councils and the work that needs to be done in many towns and cities, so planning ahead and looking at what measures can and should be implemented to keep individuals safe is essential.”