By Palatinate News
1400: The press conference has come to a close.
1359: Dan Slavin, President of the SU, is asked whether students should take responsibility for their actions. He replies: “I don’t like the fact that we have to deal with this as a student issue”, calling it a “nationwide issue”.
1356: Asked whether the safety group will rule out barriers, Collins answers “no”, adding that they are “not at this stage ruling anything in nor ruling anything out”.
1353: Collins says that there is “not one” solution to riverside safety, with Walker adding that there are “a very complex set of circumstances” regarding the river.
1349: ITV Tyne Tees asks: “Will you admit that the paths around the river aren’t as safe as necessary?”
Collins replies that “infrastructure around the city [has] been in place for many, many years, and there have been very few incidents.”
Walker adds that the “quality of sites will change over time. What you have to get in place is a way of making sure it is maintained and target key areas.”
1346: David Walker, head of leisure safety at RoSPA now talking. He says that there is a “need to reflect values, like heritage values, which are core reasons why people visit this city.”
1344: Collins: “We feel that we’ve done everything we can. What we can’t do is promise you that there won’t be further incidents ”
1338: City Safety Group will walk around the river within 2 weeks to decide on changes and costs. Collins said: “What we can’t talk about today is money. We literally don’t know.”
1337: Collins praises the role of the University which has had a “lot of energy”: “I’ve been really impressed by the work of the university.”
1330: Collins says lighting could increase the number of people by the river and then increase the risk of people falling in. He adds a “sensible approach” is needed, especially since it is a World Heritage Site.
1327: Collins: “We don’t believe there is immediate danger [between Framwellgate and Mill House Weir], if we did, we would be taking action on that.”
He said the Safety Group will not announce what they will do today but in the next two weeks.
1325: “Immediate action” should be implemented between Framwellgate and Mill House Weir as it is deemed “high risk” by RoSPA. However, fencing the entire section may increase flood risk and provide little gain for major cost.
1320: Collins says that we “have to respect that Durham is a heritage city…rightly so, lot of people saying that they don’t want railings to be put round the river”.
1318: Collins: Our role is “to make the river safe as necessary, not as safe as possible.” He adds: “Fences all the way round…[are] not practical, not needed”.
1317: Collins says that personal accountability is also important.
1316: A safe haven for students that was available on Wednesdays and Saturdays will now only be continuing on Wednesdays.
1315: Collins added that riverside safety is “not something we can resolve over night. It’s a Long-term issue.”
1313: The pilot scheme for using breathalysers with licensing premises will last 3 months with six venues taking part.
1311: Terry Collins commended the “multi-partnership approach with great commitment” and said that the group had been “quick with actions”.
He added: “We felt there was no immediate action required in regard to personal safety”
1308: In attendance are: Graham Towl, Pro-V C and Deputy Warden of Durham University, David Walker, Head of Leisure safety at RoSPA, Terry Collins from the City Safety Group, Ivan Wood, Chief Superintendent, Durham Constabulary, John Holmes, Head of Property at Durham cathedral and Dan Slavin, President of the Students’ Union.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents has released its report into riverside safety in Durham.
The City Safety Group will hold a press conference to discuss the report from 1300. Stick with Palatinate for live updates.
The report concluded that building fences along the river “should be considered” but “would be very expensive” and “limited use” in many areas.
The review said that fences could make the area “a significant hot spot for antisocial behaviour or people who actively want to be isolated.”
It also said that more fencing could increase the flood risk and “spoil heritage/aesthetic aspect if not carefully approached”.
It added that the City Safety Group should make decisions on lighting the riverside path “a priority”.
Regarding pathway surfacing, it said that the “main hazard presented were multiple low level trip/fall issues into the river” and that an option could be to improve the maintenance of footpaths and edges.
The report also found the following:
- The report gave the area between Framwellgate and Mill House Weir a risk rating of 76. Ratings above 71 are “high risk” and call for immediate action.
- The majority of the sections along the river were considered to be of “medium risk” (a score of 41-70), with 9 out of 17 sections given a risk factor of above 60.
- The location of public rescue equipment is “generally well located and in situ”.
- “commended” the leadership of the City Safety Group
- recognised “the need for individual responsibility near to water.” [sic]
- found that “alcohol was a suspected or confirmed contributory factor in four of the fatal events (80%) and 27 of the [non-fatal incident] events (52%).”
The report said 56 people had fallen in the River Wear in Durham since January 2010, with five deaths.
More to follow