As a member of the River Safety Group, Bath & North East Somerset Council would like to express its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Henry Burke, whose body was found in the River Avon on Saturday.
The River Safety Group – the multi-agency group made up of representatives from Avon and Somerset Constabulary, Avon Fire and Rescue, Bath & North East Somerset Council, the Environment Agency and the Canal and Rivers Trust – will be convened to review existing safety measures in place. This is the first fatality upstream of Pulteney Weir – an area where the adjoining land is predominantly privately-owned, with limited public access.
Actions taken so far by the River Safety Group, as well as those underway, to improve river safety include:
- Educating students about the risks presented by the river through the “Got Ya Back” Campaign – which has been rolled out across Bath College, Bath Spa University and the University of Bath since March 2015
- Officers from Avon Fire and Rescue and Bath & North East Somerset Council discussed river safety with around 250 students at Bath Spa University Fresher’s Fair in September 2016
- Producing an online river safety film which Bath Spa University and the University of Bath have shared with their freshers, and Bath College have shared with their students; and has had almost 2,000 views on YouTube
- Installing 14 new river rescue cabinets along the stretch of river from Windsor Bridge to Pulteney Bridge in Bath
- Erecting fencing along a stretch of the river between Windsor Bridge Road and Green Park, and between Thimble Mill and Churchill Bridge and on the sloped path leading from Green Park Road
- Providing new gated access from the river in a stretch of existing fencing between Widcombe Lock and Spring Gardens Road.
As a member of the River Safety Group, the Council is keen to emphasise that although the River Avon is a beautiful part of the city, people are reminded of the importance of staying safe around the water, particularly at night time.