Select Committee on Economic Affairs Written Evidence

Memorandum by Mr Rob Wheway, Director of Wheway Consultancy

  I have carried out risk assessments and safety checks of both indoor and outdoor play facilities on behalf of Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT), Institute of Leisure and Amenity Management (ILAM), National Playing Fields Association and The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA).

  It is my experience that fears based on myth often cause people to incorrectly define risk. This is widespread and I therefore prepared a document "Urban Myths about Children's Playgrounds", which has been circulated to many Local Authorities. Please find a copy enclosed. 46

  A further complication is that in the area of "Health and safety" safety is often easy to define, and measurable by accidents, whereas health tends to be more long-term. The result for children is that they may be prevented from challenging and exciting activities, which whilst it may reduce the number of accidents is injurious to their overall health; a document "Managing Risk in Play Provision" is helpful in this regard and a copy is enclosed for your information.

  The perception of risk is also culturally biased. We are a car based culture and therefore allow cars to drive at 30 mph down residential roads, with the very high risk that children will be kept indoors and therefore suffer obesity or type 2 diabetes. This high risk we accept because of the car based culture. My research (with Dr Alison Millward) for The Joseph Rowntree Foundation "Facilitating play in housing estates" can be downloaded from

6 February 2006

46  Evidence submitted but not printed.

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