Bath River Safety report – some concerns raised

Conservative councillors in Bath have welcomed a report produced for the council into improving river safety in the city, but have raised various concerns about some of the findings.

In particular, Conservatives have said they are concerned about the time it could take for repairs to be made to grab lines and ladders on the river’s walls and banks, and that life belts are unlikely to be installed.

Councillor Martin Veal, the Conservative Shadow Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, said:

“We welcome the publication of this report and the fact the council is stepping up to take responsibility for safety along the River Avon in Bath. There have been too many tragic accidents on this river in recent years which we must do all we can to prevent happening again.

“There are many positive recommendations in this report which we hope the Council will implement. However, we do have concerns about some of the actions resulting from the report.

“Firstly, the council has said that repairs to ladders and grab lines on the river’s banks and walls may not take place until 2012-2013. Such a wait would not be acceptable; this is something which the council or British Waterways should undertake immediately. One of the major dangers with the river in Bath is the serious difficulty in getting out once in the water.

“Secondly, we question the conclusion of the report not to install Life Rings or other rescue equipment on the river’s edge. The report says that these could get vandalised or even encourage people to swim in the river. Of course vandalism is always a possibility wherever such equipment is installed, but they could be installed near the water as well as on the bank. Also, clear signs could be erected next to the Life Rings warning people not to enter the water. The safety of people who fall into the river surely has to take precedence in this instance. As the Council considers what actions it will implement, cost must not be an issue when it comes to safety.”