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Sudbury: Put signs back, lifesaver warns

PUBLISHED: 15:12 23 June 2014

Sudbury water meadows

Sudbury water meadows

A Royal Life Saving Society (RLSS) trainer has hit out after warning signs described as “tacky and inappropriate” and as spoiling one of west Suffolk’s most picturesque views were removed.

The Environment Agency put up the signs next to a stream on Sudbury Common Lands to warn visitors of “strong currents and fast-flowing water” when the flood gates are opened further upstream.

But common lands ranger Adrian Walters removed the signs temporarily until he could discuss the matter with the Environment Agency. Mr Walters believes the signs are unnecessary and unsightly in an area which has county wildlife and local nature reserve status. He also says the signs have been placed at a point on the river where there have been no recorded incidents.

But Alan Cecil, who is chairman of Sudbury Life Saving Club and an assessor for the RLSS, is “outraged” by the actions.

Mr Cecil said that no warning signs were “unnecessary”, nor were they “health and safety gone crazy” if they prevented just one person from getting into difficulty in the river.

He added: “We have had incidents locally in these waters, and although they may not have been directly at this spot, we shouldn’t wait for an incident to happen before we respond. As well as preserving the view, surely the ranger’s remit must also include the safety of visitors to the meadows.

“Maybe he should have left the signs in place while negotiating where they should be placed and what format they should take.

“I wouldn’t like to be in his shoes if there should be an incident before the signs are put back.”

An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: “We do have a duty to make people aware of fast-flowing waters, even if they don’t happen very often.”

Mr Walters declined to comment last night.

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