An urgent review is to be carried out of safety measures on all the waterways within Oxford. It will include both the River Thames and the Oxford Canal.

The move by the city council follows the death of 13-year-old Aown Dogar who drowned in a side stream of the Thames last month.

And it follows pressure from city councillor Elise Benjamin who questioned whether or not there were enough lifebelts along waterways within the city.

Ms Benjamin said: “The latest tragic drowning of Aown Dogar has once again raised awareness of the lack of lifebelts on some stretches of the Thames.”

Now the council has announced that together with the Environment Agency  it will carry out a review of where  lifesaving facilities can be found along the canals and rivers.

Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Leisure, Parks and Sports, has also encouraged more families to take advantage of free children’s swimming lessons being offered by the city council.

He told a meeting of the council:"The availability of lifebelts is checked on a regular basis, but there is a significant problem of vandalism which results in replacements often being required and gaps therefore occurring in their availability.

"We will re-assess the current number and placing of lifebelts and will also work with the
EA and other partners to review the management of risk from drowning.

"Sadly, the most recent death occurred in a side channel where life belts would not generally be expected and reemphasises the need for good provision of swimming lessons and lessons at school covering the hazards presented by the many watercourses around the city."

Story dated August 10th 2015




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