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Water safety high on the agenda for Nuneaton and Bedworth

Published on Thursday, 5th January 2023

Nuneaton and Bedworth councillors will discuss a new water safety policy for the borough later this month.

The decision to adopt a new policy is expected to be made by the Council’s Cabinet at its meeting on Wednesday, 11 January.

A report to the Cabinet states that many of the Borough’s greenspaces are enhanced by the presence of water in the form of waterbodies such as lakes, pools, and wet marshland and watercourses including streams, rivers and canals.

The new policy is focused on this element of site safety and on exploring and determining how the Council can manage the risk that its water bodies could pose to the public, its employees, and contractors.

The Council is also in the process of establishing a Public Space Protection Order that makes it an offence to be in the water without permission.

This order will follow the stay out of the water messages the authority has provided on signage and through the media and will allow partners such as police, to take enforcement action where necessary.

The Council will also work with community and friends’ groups in such a way that the stay out of the water message is passed onto these groups as appropriate.

Last month, four youngsters died after falling through ice on a Solihull lake and Warwickshire Police and the county’s Fire and Rescue Service also received calls about people playing on the ice at Seeswood Pool in Nuneaton and at the Nook in Bedworth.

Cllr Julian Gutteridge, Portfolio Holder for Health and Environment at Nuneaton and Bedworth Borough Council, said:

“We consider water safety to be of very high importance for people living in Nuneaton and Bedworth, especially after the recent tragic fatalities in Solihull.

“If we have a policy in place, it gives everyone something to refer to and will hopefully benefit Borough residents not just now, but in the future.’’

The policy also states the importance of maintenance, inspection and repair at the water courses and keeping them, and their associated grills, inlets and outlets clear of debris build up in areas that may increase the risk of flooding or lead to higher water levels.

Other issues featured in the policy include the importance of keeping water courses and waterbodies clear of fishing lines and other debris that may increase the risk of entanglement, injury and drowning should someone enter the water.

It also includes the need to report pollution incidents to the Environment Agency and managing rat infestations where they pose a risk to health.

The policy forms part of the Building a Better Borough document, the Borough Council's Corporate Plan which sets out how the Council aims to make the Borough a better place to live, work and visit.