A small Kent village had lost its festive spirit before Christmas had even got started in 2019, after the council banned its traditional lights display.
Villagers in Pembury were obviously upset to hear that their streets would not be lined with twinkling lights following a statement by council officials that said they breached health and safety rules.
The council said it had to ditch the lights as they were too heavy to hang from the lamp posts, as many of the columns were found to be unsafe and unable to support the weight of the Christmas light motifs which weighed up to 8kg.
This scenario identifies a distinct lack of planning on the council’s behalf. The Health and Safety Executive state that:
“Planning is the key to ensuring your health and safety arrangements really work. It helps you think through the actions you have set out in your policy and work out how they will happen in practice.”
When planning consideration should be given to the following:
- what you want to achieve, e.g. how you will ensure that persons are kept healthy and safe
- how you will decide what might cause harm to people and whether you are doing enough or need to do more to prevent that harm
- how you will prioritise the improvements you may need to make
- who will be responsible for health and safety tasks, what they should do, when and with what results?
- how you will measure and review whether you have achieved what you set out to do
On this occasion, we can confirm that the festive lighting display did go ahead, as the council was able to source Christmas lights that could be safely fitted to the columns around the green.