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River safety checks carried out at Chester-le-Street

River safety checks are being carried out at Chester-le-Street by Durham County Council to see if improvements can be made.

River Wear in Chester-le-Street Credit: PA

The checks come after advice and guidance from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), the council is undertaking assessments of rivers, lakes and other bodies of water to see if what can be done to prevent accidents.

Kevin Lough, Durham County Council occupational health and safety manager said:

Following specialist training from ROSPA assessments of open water sites are now being undertaken where the council has responsibility. This includes the Riverside Complex and surrounding areas.

The assessments, using RoSPA methodology, will identify where further improvements are required. One of the important aspects of water safety is to educate and improve awareness within known at risk groups such as young people. We have been working with schools within the Chester-le-Street area.

– Kevin Lough, Durham County Council

As a result of the assessments, improvements will be made to safety measures in and around the Wear and footbridges at the Riverside Complex. Public rescue equipment will also be improved and new safety signs will be put up which highlight hazards associated with the river.

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Breathalysers will be used in a number of bars and clubs in Durham City this evening, as part of a new river safety pilot project.

Last week a report by the charity ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) made a number of recommendations, including additional lighting along the river bank and improving pathways.

Anyone believed to be intoxicated will be breathalysed, and if they are over the limit they could be refused entry.

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River Wear. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

A report into river safety in Durham after the deaths of three students has recommended money is spent to reduce the risk of future accidents.

The charity ROSPA has made a number of recommendations after it inspected the riverbank at different times during a number of days and nights last month.

It suggests additional lighting, improving pathways, fencing in some areas and upgrading public safety equipment along the River Wear.

The report for Durham County Council was commissioned after a number of other mesaures were put in place to stop people who have been drinking heavily, getting close to the river.

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