Thursday, June 05, 2008
Nanny Bans Bunting
The Health and Safety Gestapo have donned their jackboots again, and recently put the boot into a little piece of harmless village history.
Each year, Hatfield Broad Oak in Essex holds an annual festival and garnishes itself with bunting and brightly coloured flags.
The festival has fundraising events, floral displays, a dog show, a craft fair, a dance and a 10km run and raises about £10,000 a year for local groups and charities.
This year the decorations have had to be abandoned.
Health and safety!
Nanny's chums in Essex Highways are concerned that the bunting presents a threat to people's health and safety. The festival has been run for decades without any bunting disasters.
Janet Pugh, a member of the festival organising committee, said:
"Every year we've put up bunting across the road in Hatfield Broad Oak, high enough not to interfere with the passing traffic, but last year someone complained about it to Essex Highways.
The bottom line is that Essex Highways said we didn't have a licence.
We filled in application forms for a licence but the red tape involved is so complicated.
All we want to do is put up a little bit of bunting to celebrate our festival week which raises money for the church. It's a few flags for a maximum of 10 days.
They seem to link bunting in with elaborate Christmas lights – if this was Oxford Street you could understand it."
The health and safety rules mean that the festival's organisers would have to use fixed points on buildings using stainless steel eyebolts that have to undergo rigorous wind and stress tolerance testing.
Leigh Trevitt, a parish councillor, said:
"We use common sense when we put up the bunting. Of course we are concerned about safety, but there has never been any accidents. We are talking about a piece of string with flags on it, nothing heavy, it's ludicrous.
Our village is a little piece of old England and if we are not careful we will lose all our rights."
Commonsense does not apply in Nanny's Britain, she banned it!
As Mr Trevitt says, if we are not careful we will lose all our rights.
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