Chocolate Festival could be cancelled – due to overcrowding

Concerns have been raised that this year’s Ramsbottom’s Chocolate Festival may not go ahead – on health and safety grounds.

Conservative councillors claimed that Bury council has blocked plans for this year’s festival, due to be held over the weekend of April 8-9, to be held in the town centre due to overcrowding

The ever-popular festival, on Bridge Street, regularly attracts tens of thousands of visitors.

Ramsbottom councillor Rob Hodkinson said he had arranged an urgent high-level meeting with Bury Town Hall bosses in a last-ditch effort to ensure a site can be agreed for this year’s festival.

In a statement he claimed: “After a great deal of hard work and dedication by event organisers, plans to hold the festival on Bridge Street have been stopped in their tracks by the council on health and safety grounds due to overcrowding last year.

“Ramsbottom has quite rightly become the top ‘foodie’ town in the north west over the last few years. We have a tremendous number of good restaurants, gastro-pubs, tea rooms and independent shops selling a whole range of food.”

“We are so lucky that we have such a dedicated team of business owners and traders who work hard each year to put on this event.”

Coun Hodkinson added that no agreement had been able to be reached for other possible venues for the festival – including Ramsbottom Cricket Club and Ramsbottom Football Club.

Paul Morris, who owns the Chocolate Cafe and is involved in the festival, said if the event is cancelled it will have a big financial effect on the local economy.

He added: “Obviously, it’s a real shame if it goes. I’m not sure how we’ve got to this situation.

“It will certainly have a big impact on the local economy. A few years ago, the council did some projections that it would be worth over £200,000 to the area.”

Air Show Plane Crash: Pilot Error and Insufficient Event Organiser Risk Assessment

Pilot errors and ineffective measures to protect the public led to the deaths of 11 men when a vintage jet crashed on to a dual carriageway during the Shoreham air show, investigators say.

The Hawker Hunter jet crashed on the A27, destroying vehicles and bursting into flames on 22 August 2015.

A further 13 people, including the pilot Andy Hill, were injured.

In its final report on the disaster, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) listed a series of failings.

Mr Hill, 52, from Hertfordshire, was the subject of a manslaughter investigation by Sussex Police and interviewed under caution.

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On publication of the report into the disaster, AAIB principal inspector Julian Firth said: “The aircraft crashed because at the top of its aerobatic manoeuvre it was too low to complete it.”

The report said the pilot carried out the manoeuvre at less than maximum thrust.

It would have been possible to abort it safely at the apex of the loop but Mr Hill had not been trained in the escape manoeuvre which might have got him out of trouble.

Emergency services working on the A27 in the aftermath of the disasterImage copyright PA
Image caption The jet came down on the busy A27 dual carriageway

The AAIB also found the severity of the outcome of the crash was due to “an absence of provisions to mitigate the effects of an aircraft crashing in an area outside the control of the organisers of the flying display”.

The report said the risk assessment “was not suitable and sufficient to manage the risks to the public”, and the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) did not require to see or approve risk assessments before issuing a permission to hold a flying display.

The report makes a series of safety recommendations including that airshow organisers must conduct suitable and sufficient risk assessments, and pilots must tell organisers what manoeuvres they will carry out and where.

The AAIB also recommends that pilots should be trained in escape manoeuvres, and that displaying aircraft are separated from the public by a sufficient distance to minimise risk of injury to the public.

Plane wreckage being taken to the AAIB for investigationImage copyright South Coast Press Agency
Image caption Investigations by the AAIB led to 21 safety recommendations

Both the AAIB and CAA have already published a series of interim reports looking at the findings from the crash scene and implications for air displays around the UK

An AAIB report in September 2015 found the jet showed “no abnormal indications” during its flight.

But a further report in December said the aircraft had expired ejector seat parts and an out-of-date technical manual.

In March last year, the AAIB said organisers of the Shoreham air show were unaware of the pilot’s display plans.

Safety measures at all UK civil air shows were enhanced following the disaster and the CAA said it had reviewed every aspect of air display safety.

The AAIB made 21 safety recommendations which were all accepted by CAA this year.


Original source: BBC News. ESS cannot be responsible for external weblinks

BREAKING: High Court order sets out terms of HSE’s new FFI appeals process

The HSE has been forced to dramatically overhaul its procedure for appealing against Fee for Intervention bills, agreeing for the first time to disclose its evidence and reasoning to dutyholders, and to appoint a new adjudication panel of independent experts.

The restructure has been agreed in order to head off a High Court legal battle that had been scheduled for next week.

The terms of the reform have been negotiated between the HSE and facilities firm OCS Group, the company that had brought the judicial review scheduled for 8 March. The terms are set out in a legally binding “consent order” issued by the High Court on 23 February.

The document, seen by the publication Health and Safety at Work, stipulates that the new procedure must be in place by 1 September 2017, and outlines six terms that the regulator must comply with when devising in the new process.

On 9 February, the HSE issued a press release announcing that it “is to consult on proposals to make its cost recovery scheme dispute process fully independent”. It’s understood that the “proposals” are contained in the consent order, which were agreed by the two sides two days earlier – the order was submitted for the court’s approval on 7 February.