Health and Safety – or ‘Elf and Safety’ – is to blame for Aycliffe Council’s proposal to scrap the 50-year tradition of the town’s Christmas Eve Tours.
Pen-pushing jobsworths have referred Aycliffe’s new events sub-committee to road traffic legislation – suggesting the local authority has been breaking the law with the way Santa has been riding on the back of vans as they tour the town.
The report said: “One of the volunteers last year, a serving Police Officer, highlighted to a member of council staff that the law states “no person shall travel on the back of a moving vehicle”. This is in reference to Road Traffic Legislation and Health & Safety Legislation.
“The continued use of two-seater vehicle would mean that the Santa’s must ride on the back. Drivers could be prosecuted and the Council’s insurance would be null and void, in the event of any accident resulting in a claim.
“The Council’s insurers were happy to cover the event as long as the risk assessment was being followed, the 2017 risk assessment stated Santa to travel when possible in the cab and driver not to use excessive speed when Santa is on the back.
“This is now known to be breaking the law and could mean prosecution for the driver and Council. An amended risk assessment which addresses this particular risk is appended.”
The report claims GATC contacted “several” local companies to provide a quote for special vehicles which would be adequate for the tours.
One estimate puts the hire cost at £500 each, which would total around £4,000, but the report to councillors said there’d be no budget available.
The events sub-committee therefore proposed the tours in their present format be replaced with the vehicles stopping in strategic locations throughout the town for the public to visit Santa.
The proposal is due to go before Aycliffe Council’s Recreation Committee on Wednesday (October 17, 7.15pm), when members of the public are welcome to attend, and then full council on October 31.
The full report to councillors can be seen here: https://www.great-aycliffe.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/8-Santa-Tours.pdf
The events sub-committee meeting minutes can be seen here: https://www.great-aycliffe.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/6-Events-Sub-Minutes-3-October.pdf