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Camber lifeguards plans on track

Plans to introduce a seasonal lifeguard service at Camber Sands are on track as part of Rother District Council's budget proposals.

In December, the council allocated £51,000 in its draft 2017-18 budget to allow for possible provision of lifeguards at the beach where seven men tragically drowned last summer.

The council is working with local and national agencies, including the National Water Safety Forum, in developing a beach and water safety plan that recommends the provision of a lifeguard service in response to the tragic events at Camber.

The council's overview and scrutiny committee has now recommended the funds be approved by cabinet and full council as part of the authority's budget setting next month.

If approved, the scheme would see RNLI lifeguards stationed on the beach during the summer season, from Whitsun to the end of the school summer holidays.

Tony Leonard, district council executive director of business operations, said: "Safety at Camber is kept under constant review, taking into account the prevailing risks and available resources.

"In recent years we have introduced a wide range of measures to improve safety on a beach that, prior to the tragic events of last summer, has always had a very good safety record.

"However, the beach is three miles long and up to 700m wide at low tide, therefore it can never be completely risk-free.

"Inquests into the drownings last year are awaited and we will of course carefully consider the coroner's findings into the causes of these deaths and act on any recommendations the coroner might make.

"Our policy remains that we will review and adapt safety provision to address changes in the circumstances at the beach and a lifeguard service will allow us to do this and to provide reassurance to the public."

The RNLI had already been asked by the council to carry out a safety assessment of the beach following the first drowning incident in July, and has since been working on a proposal for a lifeguard service.

The lifeguard service funding, which was discussed at last night's (Monday, January 30 2017) overview and scrutiny committee, will form part of the council's draft budget which will be considered by cabinet on February 13 2017 and put to a vote of the full council on February 27 2017.

Published on Tuesday, January 31 2017

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