Plymouth Councillors have joined forces with local MPs and campaigners to launch a petition opposing the Government’s plans to repeal the Adventure Activities Licensing Act. The petition, the wording of which has been agreed by politicians of both parties, is now on the Government’s online petition site. It is hoped that if 100,000 people sign the petition that this issue will be debated in the House of Commons.
On 22 March 1993 Claire Langley, Simon Dunne, Rachel Walker and Dean Sayer, pupils from Southway Comprehensive, Plymouth, tragically lost their lives whilst kayaking on a school trip organised by the St Alban’s Activity Centre. In response to that, and other tragedies, in 1995 ‘The Activity Centres (Young Person’s safety) Act’ gained Royal Assent. The Government are proposing to abolish this act and instead introduce a voluntary code of practice for adventure activities. We believe that learning outside the classroom should be supported, unhelpful processes removed but that sustained increased participation is only possible when underpinned with an effective quality safety framework. Parents and schools will not be assured by measures they believe incapable of deterring those who would cut corners and therefore call on the Government to retain some form of compulsory licensing of these activities.
Southway Councillor John Smith said: “The tragic events at Lyme Bay where four young people from Southway lost their lives illustrates just how important it is to have formal regulation of this industry. We all want young people to go out and enjoy the great outdoors, but Parents and Teachers need confidence that measures are in place to deter people who would cut corners and could potentially put lives at risk. Yes the current licensing regime needs to be reviewed but the suggested voluntary code of practice will be insufficient.”
Alison Seabeck MP added: “We have a duty of care to our Children. In 1993 four teenagers from Southway were killed. We must ensure that this never happens again. In the period following this tragedy and the introduction of the Act in 1995 the Conservative Government and the HSE had argued that further regulation or statutory accreditation was unnecessary. This was despite the Activity Centres Advisory Committee, Association of County Councils, Education Select Committee, Unions and others organisations demands for statutory regulation.
“I am thankful that due to David Jamieson MP’s persistence legislation was passed to protect young people who are undertaking these adventure activities. I am deeply concerned that his hard work is about to be undermined by the repeal of the Act and that young people’s safety will once more be put at risk. In 1994 the HSE published a report stating that 24% of centres did not have a written safety policy, 13% had not undertaken any risk assessment and 16% did not provide training for their instructors. Licensing is necessary to protect lives.”
To support the campaign please sign Keeping Our Young People Safe – Oppose the Repeal of the Adventure Activities Licensing Act.Other news from Plymouth Labour