River Basin and Flood Risk plans – Environment Agency consultations

The Environment Agency is seeking views on proposals to improve the water environment and protect communities from flood risk in England.

They would like your input on updates to river basin management plans and flood risk management plans. Once agreed, these plans will shape decisions, direct investment and action and deliver significant benefits for society and the environment.

River basin management plans set out long term objectives for the quality of the water environment. They identify the condition of rivers, lakes and coastal waters and the pressures on them. The plans provide evidence that will help those with an interest in the water environment to agree where improvements can be made.

Flood risk management plans describe the risk of flooding from rivers, the sea, surface water, groundwater and reservoirs. They set out how the Environment Agency, local councils and water companies will work together, with communities, to manage flood risk.

These links will also explain how to respond to consultations in river basin districts which cross borders with Scotland and Wales.

The formal closing date for the flood risk management plan consultation is 31 January 2015, while the river basin management plan consultations will run for six months, ending on 10 April 2015.

NWSF News & Updates September ’13

BSAC’s Annual Incident Report 2013 deadline is fast approaching
The closing date for incident submissions for BSAC’s Annual Incident Report is 14th October 2013. Every year, BSAC compiles a comprehensive Annual Incident Report to aid diver safety by sharing information and allowing all divers to learn from the reports of others. The reporting year runs from 1st October to 30th September each year to fit with both the diving season and to allow compilation of the report in time for publication. It is important that all reports are submitted as soon as possible in order to be included in this year’s report and so we would remind all members to submit reports for any incidents, occurring between 1st October 2012 and 30th September 2013, by Monday 14th October. The report will be presented by BSAC’s Safety Adviser Brian Cumming at the BSAC Diving Conference at the NEC on Saturday, 26th October. Read more or report an incident: http://www.bsac.com/page.asp?section=1046&sectionTitle=Incident+Reporting

#SAVEWAVE: A Wave of support that put RNLI rescue stories in front of 1.8M people
The RNLI’s #SAVEWAVE campaign has been running during the summer months. A simple idea of allowing the RNLI to post stories over your Twitter/ Facebook profiles to your followers has created a campaign that reached 1.8 million people. Over the 7 week period, the RNLI posted the week’s most dramatic rescues across social media on behalf of the 6,000 strong campaign’s supporters. #SaveWave, has quickly helped build awareness of the RNLI’s lifesaving work. RNLI volunteers rescue, on average 150 people every week. See the #SAVEWAVE video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAONhO4aZXQ&feature=youtu.be
More ways to support the RNLI: http://rnli.org/howtosupportus/Pages/How-to-support-us.aspx

Before you book your next dive holiday, check out BSAC Trip Reports
Malta, Gozo, Orkney Islands and Marsa Shagra are the latest dive destinations to be covered by the BSAC Trip Reports, written and submitted by travelling divers and now available online. An invaluable port of call if you are starting to plan your next big dive trip, the reports are part of the BSAC Trip report service, which hosts hundreds of first-hand dive holiday accounts, both in the UK and worldwide. Written by BSAC members, Trip Reports provide uncensored testimonies on the best – and not so great – holiday experiences to help you make up your mind. Check out the Trip Reports section where you will also find guidance on how to submit your own holiday report.
Trip Reports: http://www.bsac.com/news.asp?itemid=13313&itemTitle=Before+you+book+your+next+dive+holiday%2C+check+out+BSAC+Trip+Reports&section=56&sectionTitle=News&month=9&year=2013

Swansea and Stirling’s elite swimming centres under threat
British Swimming has given the strongest indication yet that centres of excellence in Swansea and Stirling could lose their International Training Centre (ITC) status.
The sport suffered a £4,000,000 funding cut after winning just three of their five targeted medals at London 2012. The centres at Loughborough and Bath are believed to be safe. British Swimming has been investigating ways of reducing operating costs since suffering the funding cut. The sport had operated five ITCs in the build up to London 2012, but the one at Stockport was axed in February. Talks with representatives from both threatened centres are on-going, but those from Swansea will meet with British Swimming officials for a crucial meeting about their situation next week.
Scottish Swimming says it is working hard with British Swimming and is in constant dialogue with their counterparts over the future of the centre in Stirling. It stresses that, while the review is underway, preparations for Scottish swimmers using the facility at Stirling will not be affected and it is business as usual. Read the full story: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/wales/23962233

MPs to debate Coastguard’s report
Westminster Hall debate: The Coastguard, Emergency towing vessels and the Maritime incident response group – Follow up. The Westminster Hall debate will be on Thursday 17th October in Westminster Hall at 13.30. The debate will discuss the Committee’s Sixth Report of Session 2012-13.
Having secured changes to the Government’s original proposals, saving some stations from closure and keeping all remaining stations as 24-hour operations, the Coastguard service report, receiving worrying information about the impact of recent reforms.
The report focuses on changes to the Coastguard Service, and draws considerable attention to the problems of; low morale and the loss of experienced staff with exemplary local knowledge – which came through station closure and amalgamation. The report will be the subject of the first debate of the afternoon, before a debate on a report by the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee.
http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/transport-committee/news/coastguards—wh-debate/

NWSF News & Updates July ’13

HM Coastguard sees an increase in incidents during July’s Summer sun
HM Coastguard has seen a 23% increase in incidents in the past month, as many take the opportunity to enjoy the summer sunshine along the UK coastline.
It’s not only swimmers in difficulty that HM Coastguard has recently dealt with. Other emergencies or calls for assistance include medical evacuations, mechanical problems with small boats, divers in difficulty, people stuck in mud, cliff falls and people cut off by the tide. Peter Dymond, Chief Coastguard, says:
“From 15th June to 16th July this year, HM Coastguard dealt with 2,859 incidents. An increase of 668 compared to the same period in 2012”.
Read the full story: http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-home/newsandpublications/press-releases.htm?id=CF4D1BD60000244C&m=7&y=2013

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch has published its ‘Annual Report for 2012’.
Covers Leisure, Merchant, and Fishing vessel accident investigations by the MAIB. Includes full investigations, report publications, recommendations and statistics
One leisure investigation of note: Lion (No 4/2012) Reflex 38 yacht Fatal man overboard 14.5 miles south of Selsey, 18th Jun 2011.
Download the 2012 report: http://www.maib.gov.uk/cms_resources.cfm?file=/MAIBAnnualReport_2012.pdf

Leisure centre operator sentenced after child drowning
The operator of an Essex leisure centre has been ordered to pay more than £190,000 in fines and costs after a seven year-old girl drowned in a swimming pool. Michelle Gellard, from East London, died after she went swimming with a number of other children at the Blackwater Leisure Centre in Maldon on 14th June 2008 after attending a judo competition.
Bedfordshire-based Leisure Connection Ltd, which operates the pool, was prosecuted under Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974 on the 18th July by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE); after an investigation into the death identified serious failings with lifeguard cover.
The HSE investigation concluded that Leisure Connection Ltd failed over a period of time to ensure that sufficient, suitably positioned lifeguards were always on poolside duty to ensure the safety of pool users. The Blackwater leisure centre was not compliant with its own procedures, and the procedures in place at the site were inadequate.

Leisure Connection Ltd, of Potton House, Wyboston Lakes, Great North Road, Wyboston, Bedfordshire, was fined £90,000 with costs of £101,663 after admitting breaching Section 3(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Section 3 of the HASAW Act places general duties on employers and the self-employed towards people other than their employees.

After the hearing, HSE inspector Antonina Drury said: “In this case, Michelle Gellard was robbed of her chances of rescue and survival by Leisure Connection’s failures.Evidence emerged in the course on the investigation that Leisure Connection failed to identify and address the fact that the amount of life guarding it was paying its staff to provide at Blackwater Leisure Centre was noticeably less than the amount it knew was required for full and safe operation of the pool.”
More on this article: http://www.hse.gov.uk/press/2013/rnn-e-02613.htm

Boat Safety Scheme issues gas warning to boaters and 10 key gas safety points
The Boat Safety Scheme is urging boaters to avoid using portable gas camping stoves, lamps and heaters on board boats because of the risks of explosions, fire and carbon monoxide poisoning. The alert for this summer follows yet another gas stove explosion, this time in the close confines of a tent on a North Wales campsite. The two young people inside were taken to hospital with facial burns, very similar to when two boaters were severely injured in an explosion on a boat on the Norfolk Broads in 2010.
Such equipment is designed for use in open air and is not suitable for use in the limited space of a boat cabin, where both explosions and carbon monoxide would have disastrous consequences.
Any boater deciding to use portable gas appliances need to be completely familiar with the correct and safe way of operation – from taking out of its storage case to fitting new fuel canisters. These are the 10 key safety points that can help to keep boat crews safe:
1. Only use portable appliances onshore
2. Stow any canisters, (used or unused) and any appliance (if it has a canister inserted), in a self-draining gas locker, or on open deck where any escaping gas can flow overboard.
3. Be familiar with the operating instructions before use
4. Before you start, check the appliance’s condition, if the gas canister seal looks damaged, or if the appliances/ gas canister is extremely rusty and deteriorated, do not use it
5. To avoid gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning check that all equipment has been correctly assembled before turning it on
6. Never attempt to fit a new canister to an appliance when aboard, wait until you are onshore.
7. Before fitting a canister, put out all open flames and smoking materials
8. Ensure that you have the correct type of gas canister for your appliance and that it is being inserted in the right place and in the right way
9. If you smell or hear gas leaking before attempting to light an appliance, don’t use it
10. If any gas is leaking, ensure that it is being dispersed in free air well away from the boat or any sparks or other sources of ignition
Read more on the Canal & rivers Trust website: http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/news-and-views/news/boat-safety-scheme-issues-gas-warning-to-boaters

Marine guidance note 446 (M): The Rescue Boat Code (Code of Practice for Open Rescue Boats of less than 15 metres in length).
This Code is published as being representative of industry best practice of those inshore rescue boats operating in United Kingdom waters. This Marine Guidance Note reminds users of the operational requirements in the ‘Inland Waters Small Passenger Boat Code’ – for towing vessels operating from a beach or harbour, and encourages use of the same guidelines for towing operations taking place on inland lakes. The Rescue Boat Code covers both the use of the rescue boat for rescue purposes and also the work of the boat in support of those rescue boat activities, such as training, trials and ancillary publicity and fundraising for the rescue boat organisation.
This Marine Guidance Note introduces the MCA publication, The Rescue Boat Code (The Code of Practice for Open Rescue Boats of Less Than 15 Metres in Length), which offers a more appropriate standard, on a voluntary basis, to rescue boat organisations for their inshore rescue boats; that might otherwise be subject to the Small Commercial Vessel and
Pilot Boats Code (SCV Code, published as MGN 280). HMCG Declared Facilities that are less than 15 m in length are required to meet this Code. The Code does not apply to rescue boats carried on ships as part of their Life Saving Appliances required under SOLAS or national regulations. Download the Rescue Boat Code: http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/466.pdf

Port Security Regulations 2009: consultation on proposed amendments
Minor amendments to the Port Security Regulations 2009 are proposed to add clarity and align the regulations more with the directive – This consultation closes on 11 September 2013
The Port Security Regulations 2009 bring into force Directive 2005/65/EC, a legislative act of the European Parliament about enhancing port security. Minor amendments are proposed which add clarity and bring the regulations more in line with the directive. Read more: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/port-security-regulations-2009-consultation-on-proposed-amendments

Celebrate 60 years of search and rescue
The Fleet Air Arm Museum in Somerset is celebrating 60 years of Royal Navy helicopter search and rescue with a summer exhibition. In 1953, the Royal Navy took delivery of its first Westland Dragonfly aircraft to form dedicated search and rescue squadrons and units around the UK.
At the heart of the display will be the Sea King flown by Prince Andrew in the Falklands Conflict, which was used to conduct a rescue mission during the campaign, and a Dragonfly, the small helicopter which began the rich tapestry of lifesaving and heritage. Young visitors can really get a feel for what it is like to be a rescue hero, with flight overalls and helmets to try on, and they can experience what it might feel like to await rescue at sea by trying out a life raft. Visit the Fleet Air Arm Museum website for further information about this exhibition and the museum’s other summer highlights. The exhibition runs until 5th September.

The Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 2012

The new Regulations contain some minor procedural changes to its predecessor but are primarily designed to transpose into UK legislation the requirements of Directive 2009/18/EC which introduce common standards for the investigation of marine accidents across the European Economic Area.
The Regulations were subject to a focused consultation conducted in January and February 2012. The MAIB would like to thank all those who contributed to this consultation process. The new Regulations and a response paper detailing the results of the consultation are available below. Go to the MAIB website for more information…

Consultation for update to Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations is closing

The Marine Accident Investigation Branch (MAIB) is the body responsible for investigating marine accidents in the UK. In 2009, the European Commission and Council agreed a new Directive (2009/18/EC), which introduces common standards for the investigation of marine accidents across the EEA (European Union plus Norway and Iceland). The UK is required to update its national law to reflect the requirements of this Directive. Therefore, the MAIB must replace the Merchant Shipping (Accident Reporting and Investigation) Regulations 2005, with an updated set of Regulations which transpose the requirements of the Directive. MAIB invite comments by Friday 24 February 2012. Read more on the MAIB website… 

Deadline moved for MCZ implementation

The proposed delay in Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) has been called into question. Parliament Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries, Richard Benyon MP has announced that the implementation of MCZs – dedicated marine conservation sites around the UK coastline – has been delayed until 2013. The decision behind the delay has been based on what DeFRA states to be ‘limitations in the evidence supporting the MCZ recommendations.’ It means that the public consultation will continue to the end of 2012. Read more on the BSAC website…

Government responds to consultation

Waterways Minister, Richard Benyon MP, has today (20 December 2012) published the Government’s response to the supplementary consultation on the transfer of British Waterways in England and Wales to the Canal & River Trust. The Government response clarifies a number of technical aspects related to the Transfer Order, and confirms that the new Trust will be subject to the Freedom of Information Act for those statutory functions which it inherits from British Waterways. Read more on the British Waterways website…

Coastguard modernisation proposals confirmed

Plans to modernise the Coastguard have been confirmed by Shipping Minister Mike Penning. The proposals, which were announced for consultation in July, will make the Coastguard better coordinated, more resilient to the challenges of the future and will increase the number of regular coastguard officers working in coastal communities, who provide leadership and support to the volunteers of the Coastguard Rescue Service.

The plans – which will modernise how rescues are coordinated and do not affect the services which go out to perform rescues -will create a nationally networked system of Coastguard coordination centres comprising:

  • One Maritime Operations Centre, to be established in Fareham, Hants, with a back-up facility at the existing Dover coordination centre, both operating on a 24 hour basis; and
  • Eight Coastguard Centres, all operated on a 24 hour basis, located at Falmouth, Milford Haven, Holyhead, Belfast, Stornoway, Shetland, Aberdeen and Humber. The station at London is also retained.

Mike Penning said: “After many years of uncertainty, these reforms provide a clear plan for the future of Her Majesty’s Coastguard. They will deliver a resilient and fully networked national rescue coordination service. They will make much better use of the talents and skills of our Coastguards and will provide more interesting and rewarding work with better pay”. Read more on the MCA website…

Written ministerial statement on Marine Conservation Zones

The Government’s first step to identifying new Marine Conservation Zones (MCZs) in English waters was taken forward through four regional MCZ projects managed by the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies, who are Natural England and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee.

The regional projects provided their recommendations for proposed sites for MCZs, these have been reviewed by the independent Science Advisory Panel (SAP) and their advice to the SNCBs and Defra has been published.

Read more on the Defra website…

Help plan the future – join new flood and coastal committee

The Environment Agency has vacancies on its three Anglian Regional Flood and Coastal Committees (RFCCs) and is keen to hear from people wanting to join. The RFCCs will play an important role in deciding local priorities, raising local levies and approving work. They also have a critical role in supporting the Environment Agency and Lead Local Flood Authorities (LLFAs) in working with communities and other partners to identify and bring in funding. They replace the former Regional Flood Defence Committees.

Read more on the Environment Agency’s website…