Safety questions over cliffs

Dorset Echo: Charlotte Blackman, who died in a landslip at Burton Bradstock, with her mum Rachel Charlotte Blackman, who died in a landslip at Burton Bradstock, with her mum Rachel

QUESTIONS are being asked about who takes on what responsibilities following the cliff fall tragedy at Burton beach in July.

After 22-year-old Charlotte Blackman, pictured, was killed there was an emergency shut down of beaches and the coast path in West Dorset while assessments were made of cliff stability.

Most of the closures were lifted within two days but the section between Burton Freshwater and Burton Hive remains closed.

Parts of Monmouth Beach have also been closed following significant cliff movement.

John Hayes and Carmel Wilkinson, of Dorset County Council’s countryside team said: “Significant resource went into trying to safeguard the public during this period, initially by the police and coastguard, and throughout by the National Trust Jurassic Co-ast Team, Count-ryside Access Team, Coastal Ranger Team, Dorset Sign Shop and highways, grounds maintenance.

“It was an unprecedented effort made more challenging by the time of the year when visitor numbers were at their peak.

“The episode raises questions regarding the appropriate responsibilities and actions that should be taken when events like these occur.

“It also raises questions on how important safety messages are conveyed.”

Comments (4)

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3:27pm Wed 19 Sep 12

shy talk says...

At the end of the day it is up to the individual to take reasonable care of your own health and safety and take note of any warnings or dangers around you. Yes accidents do happen. How many times do we hear its somebody else's fault not mine.
At the end of the day it is up to the individual to take reasonable care of your own health and safety and take note of any warnings or dangers around you. Yes accidents do happen. How many times do we hear its somebody else's fault not mine. shy talk
  • Score: 0

3:53pm Wed 19 Sep 12

bnaty12 says...

No amount of signs, barriers or such will make up for a persons lack of common sense. When I see many people, with their children sunbathing directly under those same cliffs, I just shake my head and wonder how they managed to live this long in the first place?
No amount of signs, barriers or such will make up for a persons lack of common sense. When I see many people, with their children sunbathing directly under those same cliffs, I just shake my head and wonder how they managed to live this long in the first place? bnaty12
  • Score: 0

7:26am Thu 20 Sep 12

davecook says...

bnaty12 wrote:
No amount of signs, barriers or such will make up for a persons lack of common sense. When I see many people, with their children sunbathing directly under those same cliffs, I just shake my head and wonder how they managed to live this long in the first place?
Nobody, even you, are aware of every danger that exists outside your usual circle of existance. It's quite natural to sit in the lee of the wind, the cliffs at Lulworth Cove make it a little sun trap, and not everybody will instantly know and recognise that further along the Jurassic Coast another strata of rock may be unstable from rain, ice, or wave erosion. Having spent my life living and working close to the coast, I see many examples of people from elsewhere arriving and relaxing for holidays, the first thing dropping being their guard as they relax. The stretch along from Hive Beach to Lyme Regis is quite unstable following certain weather conditions, which do not often occur just before the main holiday seasons, and the question asked, who exactly is responsible when there are several groups and interested parties involved with the Jurassic Coast is a relevant question. As to signage, the best way forward at present is to ensure that visitors know that safety is the concern of the authorities, but is the ultimate responsibility of the person themselves, thus ensuring that visitors are aware of the risks they may be taking.
[quote][p][bold]bnaty12[/bold] wrote: No amount of signs, barriers or such will make up for a persons lack of common sense. When I see many people, with their children sunbathing directly under those same cliffs, I just shake my head and wonder how they managed to live this long in the first place?[/p][/quote]Nobody, even you, are aware of every danger that exists outside your usual circle of existance. It's quite natural to sit in the lee of the wind, the cliffs at Lulworth Cove make it a little sun trap, and not everybody will instantly know and recognise that further along the Jurassic Coast another strata of rock may be unstable from rain, ice, or wave erosion. Having spent my life living and working close to the coast, I see many examples of people from elsewhere arriving and relaxing for holidays, the first thing dropping being their guard as they relax. The stretch along from Hive Beach to Lyme Regis is quite unstable following certain weather conditions, which do not often occur just before the main holiday seasons, and the question asked, who exactly is responsible when there are several groups and interested parties involved with the Jurassic Coast is a relevant question. As to signage, the best way forward at present is to ensure that visitors know that safety is the concern of the authorities, but is the ultimate responsibility of the person themselves, thus ensuring that visitors are aware of the risks they may be taking. davecook
  • Score: 0

9:47am Mon 24 Sep 12

Vickie B says...

I can assure you that Charlotte certainly didn't lack common sense. As a tourist to the area (of which is promoted by the dramatic Jurassic coastline and fossils) we were certainly not aware of the significant heightened risk of rockfall due to the weather. There were no warning signs stating this and as a tourist Charlotte and her family were enjoying their surroundings. Unfortunately it was a case of wrong time wrong place and was a tragic accident. To assume she had no common sense is just an insult.
I can assure you that Charlotte certainly didn't lack common sense. As a tourist to the area (of which is promoted by the dramatic Jurassic coastline and fossils) we were certainly not aware of the significant heightened risk of rockfall due to the weather. There were no warning signs stating this and as a tourist Charlotte and her family were enjoying their surroundings. Unfortunately it was a case of wrong time wrong place and was a tragic accident. To assume she had no common sense is just an insult. Vickie B
  • Score: 0

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