Tuesday, November 06, 2007
The Health and Safety Gestapo strike again, this time not content with interfering with the living they are now interfering with the dead.
Nanny's Health and Safety Gestapo have been running an ongoing campaign (I first commented on this issue in January 2005) to force families to pay to shore up gravestones deemed "dangerous" by our "old friends" our "respected" local councils.
Needless to say, you can see why Nanny is so keen to interfere here; it's not the safety or otherwise of these gravestones, but the fact Nanny sees the opportunity for a nice little earner for herself and her lackeys.
John Mann has seen through Nanny's scheming and notes, quite rightly, that no-one has been killed by falling headstones in churchyards in the past 10 years.
Yet families are being strong armed into paying local councils money, based on the results of our "old friend" the risk assessment.
Pass the sick bag someone!
The Local Government Association (LGA), needless to say, claim that the money is needed (well they would, wouldn't they?). An LGA spokesman said that most cemeteries are owned by local authorities, and "in the majority of cases" those authorities had covered the cost of making headstones safe.
Where the owners of plots had been charged "these costs are reasonable and it would be unfair to generalise from one authority alone".
Headstones are made safe by "staking" (not something you see in a Hammer film), in which wooden stakes are driven into the ground next to the headstones to prevent them toppling over.
Mr Mann paid for an independent "topple test" at a graveyard in his Bassetlaw constituency, the result indicated that 95% of headstone staking is unnecessary.
The reason that so many "topple tests" are showing up safety problems is that they are contracted out to private companies, who have a financial incentive to deem everything unsafe.
Mr Mann, all credit to him, is now planning on becoming an accredited gravestone "topple tester" so that he can independently check whether head stones need to be shored up.
As he said:
"These things simply don't fall on people.
There is much more chance of people dying
on their way to church."
As ever with "health and safety" rules, an entire industry has sprung up intent on screwing the public for every penny that it has got; aided and abetted by local councils, who take a nice percentage for themselves.
It is time that we rid ourselves of local councils, who add nothing but extra costs and administrative burdens to the daily lives of the people of Britain.