Bristol City Council’s Cabinet will decide whether to ditch plans to put new railings up at the edge of the city docks.
Following an outcry from boat owners and stakeholders along the city’s waterfront, a special Harbourside Forum meeting took place on Monday to discuss the proposals to put railings along the harbourside outside M-Shed.
Three council officers met with a dozen businesses and organisations, to hear the likes of the director of the ss Great Britain Trust, Matthew Tanner, saying more accidents took place where railings were installed than in areas that did not.
Cllr Mark Wright, Harbourside Forum co-Chair, said yesterday that all those attended understood that there was a risk of accidents and that if action was not taken “there would have to be clear public accountability for this decision”.
“In the light of this I have had discussions with Cllr Jon Rogers, who is the Executive Member responsible for the harbour,” he added.
“We have agreed that the matter will be brought to the attention of the Council’s Ruling Cabinet, so that further guidance can be given from elected politicians on what sort of safety measures they believe are appropriate to protect the public at locations such as this.”
The issue has been raised after the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPa) revealed earlier this year that more than 400 people across Britain die each year from drowning in inland waterways – with nearly a quarter drowning in urban harbours, docks or marinas.
Children and young people aged 0-19 accounted for 57 of the deaths in 2010, of whom 19 were under 10 years old.
David Walker, RoSPA’s leisure safety manager, said: “The fact that more than 400 lives were lost from accidents or natural causes in water in 2010 provides the impetus for staying focused on prevention.”