Water Safety

Oral Answers to Questions — Home Department – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th December 1972.

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Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth 12:00 am, 14th December 1972

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what response he has received from local authorities and harbour authorities in regard to Home Office Circular No. 178/1972, about the scheme for marking bathing areas.

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

Except that one local authority doubts the need for top markings on the buoys and two others prefer their own arrangements, I have no reason to think that the scheme is not acceptable to local authorities and harbour authorities generally.

Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth

May I express my gratitude to the Home Office for the circular, particularly on behalf of the coastal authorities in my constituency? It is an excellent contribution to safety in bathing areas and should be followed up, because more and more people are taking advantage of leisure opportunities, and the protection given by the marking buoys will prevent many disasters at the seaside in the coming season.

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for what he says. It is a serious situation when nearly 200 people a year are drowned along our coasts. I am glad to hear what the hon. Gentleman says about his own local authority. I hope that other local authorities will bear in mind the powers they already have and take further action in this direction.

Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department what replies he has given to the requests of the National Water Safety Committee and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents for the setting up of an independent commission on water safety; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave on 6th December to a similar Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth, East and Christchurch (Mr. Cordle).—[Vol. 847, c. 440.]

Photo of Mr Edward Milne Mr Edward Milne , Blyth

Is the Minister aware that this matter follows on from my previous Question, and is ancillary to it? Safety in bathing areas on sea coasts and in harbour areas is vital. Once again, we congratulate the Department on the attitude that it has taken in the matter. Will it continue to press local authorities and see that the commission for which we are asking is brought into being?

Photo of Mr David Lane Mr David Lane , Cambridge

The matter is urgent and important. The proposal for the commission was made only at the end of July. We have been consulting a number of the bodies concerned. We have nearly finished our consultations, and I hope that my right hon. Friend will be able to take a decision very soon.