David Moore: is health and safety a world of make-believe?

Do you ever have any concern for your safety when you cross Albion Way or North Parade in Horsham? I must admit that I feel that the average traffic speed has increased on both roads and is often well in excess of 30mph. The only saving grace is the pedestrian crossings. Or are they?

Recently, when I was going from Carfax to London Road, I pressed the crossing button and waited for the lights to indicate that it was safe to cross.

As the lights changed from green to amber, two approaching vehicles accelerated and, as the lights changed to red, shot across the crossing.

A few minutes later, I was waiting to cross North Parade at the pedestrian crossing near the bottom of London Road and the same thing happened but this time involving two cars coming in opposite directions.

You can never cater for irresponsible drivers but one would at least expect there to be some attempt at control or even punishment.

Would it be that difficult to have a CCTV camera at these crossings so that the offenders would be recorded and identified?

Also one has to wonder why there are no speed cameras on these particular roads.

To be fair, there is, of course, the other side of the coin.

We have an extremely dangerous pedestrian crossing leading from West Walk across Blackhorse Way towards the Forum.

It’s not light controlled and pedestrians emerging from West Walk onto the crossing are seen quite late by drivers. This is not fair on the drivers and there’s obviously an accident waiting to happen.

The risk is so high and the solution so simple, one has to wonder why nothing’s been done to resolve the problem.

We’re told that, “County won’t do anything because nobody’s ever been injured or killed on this crossing”.

If what we’re told is true, it has to be seen as a very dangerous attitude for anyone to adopt.

Surely, something as high risk as this cannot come down to waiting for a fatality to happen, can it?

Then you have yet another side to the coin with the work that will be undertaken on the millpond at the Warnham Nature Reserve.

Legislation that was enacted in 2005 meant that because the millpond was described as a reservoir, work had to be undertaken to deal with a perceived risk.

The risk was defined by considering what might happen to the embankment of the millpond if very severe rainfall was experienced.

Would the embankment be able to resist the pressure that would arise if the intensity and duration of the rain was what one might expect to occur once every 10,000 years?

It was concluded that the existing embankment would be breached with the sudden release of a large quantity of water and so £1,300,000 will be spent during the next year on work to strengthen the embankment.

Unfortunately, the approach to health and safety seems to be a lottery without any great application of logic.

If you were given the choice, would you spend money on something that might happen within the next 10,000 years or would you spend it on something that could easily happen tomorrow?

I know what I’d do!