HC Deb 04 November 1997 vol 300 c138W
Mrs. Ballard

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions what plans he has to ensure adequate provision of life-saving equipment near rivers and canals. [13328]

Angela Eagle

Provision of life saving equipment is governed by the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. This places a duty on operators of canals and waterways towards members of the public who may be affected by the way in which they carry out their work. The extent to which operators must safeguard the public depends upon the nature of the risks involved and the cost and effectiveness of possible precautions. Relevant factors include the costs of installing life saving equipment, the practicalities of maintaining and protecting it against vandalism and theft, and the availability of someone nearby to deploy it. British Waterways has set up a user safety programme to review the risk to any groups who use its canal network.