Letter July 29, part two

Health and safety gone mad

Health and safety gone mad

SIR – Your article on new safety measures proposed for Harpenden Allotments (Herts Advertiser, July 22) really draws attention to the faulty thinking that goes into the headlong pursuit of ever increasing controls on the population in the name of health and safety, frequently for specious reasons, few of which have been properly thought out. H&S legislation requires a risk analysis and of course anyone can dream up possible risks but the problem comes when the assessments of these risks have to be made.

In 2008 at West Cross near Swansea there was a case of a monkey puzzle tree near a new school that had to come down because of the ‘risk’ of a child getting hurt. Yet this tree had stood in the open on a village green for over a hundred and fifty years without a problem.

Here we go again with a similarly daft suggestion regarding water butts on allotments where there is frequent attendance by adults. What would the H&S people say about the similarly deep water containers and reused baths that are used in many open fields (and without regular adult attendance too) to provide drinking water for horses and other animals? Perhaps they should be banned because they cannot be covered and still retain their use?

I suggest this whole issue be sent to Lord Young’s review of the operation of health and safety laws and the growth of the compensation culture. Maybe that might trigger some necessary retraining of those responsible?


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SIR – Presumably the reason that the Health and Safety issues are being reviewed for Harpenden Allotments is to prevent them being sued in the event of an accident. Why not simply put up signs saying that no responsibility will be taken for this?

If anyone is stupid enough to let their children run around unsupervised and have an accident surely it is their fault and not that of the Allotment holders or the Council. Allotments are inherently unsafe places and not places to bring very young children.



Sonic youth

SIR – When Anne Main voted against allowing the UK Youth Parliament to hold an annual debate in the chamber of the House of Commons I wonder what her problem was with the idea.

Does she not like how representative the UK Youth Parliament is of contemporary Britain, how eloquently, intelligently and passionately the members contributed to the first such debate in October 2009 or how such events have a great ongoing benefit for youth participation in politics?

Certainly the positive stir these young people caused in the national press was a marked contrast not just to the usual unrealistic and unbalanced negative reporting of young people but also to the reporting of MP’s behaviour at the time.

Perhaps she was just embarrassed? She undoubtedly should be.

Matt Jeziorski

Castle Road, St Albans

A rum do for dogs

Sir – I sympathies with Tamara Wantage re Gift Wrapped Dog Do (Herts Advertiser, July 21).

I live adjacent to Cross Lane in Harpenden which is a very popular lane for dog walkers. The majority of them are very responsible but there is a minority who seem to take great delight in taking the trouble to put their dog’s mess in a plastic bag and then throw it in the hedgerow. More often than not it catches on a branch and is then just left dangling for months, if not years to come for all to see.

If these irresponsible people are going to scoop the dog mess up then why can’t they just throw it in the hedgerow, minus the bag. It will at least then rot down.

I know this is not an ideal solution but this minority is spoiling a very pleasant lane that is enjoyed by many.