It's health and safety 'gone mad'

PUBLISHED: 06:41 30 March 2006 | UPDATED: 09:04 24 May 2010

BEREAVED families are being told to remove windmills, chimes, plastic flowers and ornaments from the graves of their loved ones at Weston Crematorium

BEREAVED families are being told to remove windmills, chimes, plastic flowers and ornaments from the graves of their loved ones at Weston Crematorium.The move comes after North Somerset Council ordered a health and safety crackdown at the cemetery in Worle.Notices put up around the Ebdon Road site say ground staff will carry out spot checks on graves and memorials with instructions to confiscate offending objects without warning.One poster states windchimes hung in trees by grieving relatives will be taken down if they are deemed to pose a danger.The clamp down even extends to windmills placed on some graves as mourners have complained about the noise the whirring decorations make, officials say. Windmills will still be allowed on children's graves although notices say the council reserves the right to remove them if they are found to cause a disturbance.Plastic flowers and wreaths have been outlawed. China and glass ornaments also have to go because if they break they could be a safety hazard, the council says.But the rules have been slammed by community activist and former Weston Town Council leader David Evans, who is calling on people to take legal action against the council over the rules if necessary.Mr Evans, whose parents are buried at the crematorium, said: "I cannot believe anybody would go down this road. As for questions of health and safety, where are these 'jobsworths' coming from?"I do not believe the council can remove things from graves and not leave itself open to being sued."Everyone understands this is a serious place where people go to contemplate."If people are not hurting anyone else, why should councils interfere? It beggars belief."I would encourage anybody who has a problem with North Somerset Council to take legal action."This is health and safety gone mad. Where will it end?"A council spokesman said: "These guidelines are to ensure the crematorium always looks its best and remains a quiet and peaceful place. They date from 1979, were updated in 2002 and a copy of them is sent to people when they order a burial plot."The notices have been displayed at the crematorium for nine months."When we cannot talk to a relative about objects on memorials, we put a notice on graves asking them to remove them."We have moved windchimes closer to tree trunks because groundstaff were driving into them when they cut the grass."We always try to deal with these difficult issues in the most sensitive way.

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