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APIL welcomes change of heart on adventure regulator

Health and safety not 'a straitjacket which prevents children from taking risks'

19 July 2012

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APIL has welcomed a government decision to reconsider abolition of the adventure activities regulator as part of its health and safety review.

Lord Young recommended abolition of the Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) in his report on health and safety published in October 2010. The regulator was set up in 1996 and is sponsored by the Department for Work and Pensions.

However, in a progress report on the government’s health and safety reforms, published last month, DWP officials said that “having listened to industry concerns”, the Health and Safety Executive would consult on the future of the regulator later this year.

Karl Tonks, president of APIL, said parents would be encouraged by the move.

“What is needed now is for policymakers in Westminster to see sense and follow the example of their Scottish counterparts, who recently agreed to retain the current regulation in Scotland and reject the ill-thought-through proposal to water it down.

“The truth is that proper health and safety is not some sort of straitjacket which prevents children from taking risks. Instead it helps children to take part in activities without being put in unnecessary jeopardy.

“The existing regulation, which requires an adventure activity provider to hold a licence, is proportionate and provides the assurance that an operator has been inspected and meets acceptable safety standards.”

Tonks said the government should look at the reasons why the adventure activity regulations were implemented.

“The tragedy of Lyme Bay, in England, in 1993, in which four teenagers died during a canoeing expedition, illustrates why it’s so important for adventure activities to be properly regulated and licenced,” he said.

“When considering whether or not to abolish the AALA, the government must ensure that its priority is the safety of children and vulnerable adults.”

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Health & Safety