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Hi-vis jackets and safety boots for all Southend councillors?
2:00pm Friday 19th October 2012 in News
FLUORESCENT jackets and steel-capped boots should be issued to all councillors the moment they are elected.
That’s the view of Stephen Aylen, an Independent councillor for Belfairs ward in Southend.
Mr Aylen spoke out after several councillors visited the site of the new Belfairs Woodland Centre, in Belfairs Park, where building work is getting under way on the £1.5million visitor centre.
The former Tory councillor, who defected before May’s elections, claimed the turf-cutting ceremony was a “complete farce” because, while councillors had been issued with hi-vis jackets, no safety shoes were handed out.
He said: “Some even wearing open-toe sandals.
“Southend Council has a responsibility to all its employees, including councillors.
“Can an explanation be provided as to why when a councillor is elected they are not issued with safety shoes and high vis jacket?
“This is a requirement for any councillor who visits a site, if it’s a planning issue or a highway site visit.”
Mr Aylen has proved an outspoken character in the Civic Centre since he was first elected in May 1997.
He hit the headlines last December, when he said he did not care if “smokers got cancer and died” while calling for council homes to be set aside for non-smokers.
He estimated the cost of providing hi-vis jackets and steel-capped boots would be £9.50 per councillor.
But Andrew Moring, the Tory councillor responsible for support services, said there was no need for every councillor to be given their own safety equipment.
He said: “The requirement for councillors to have access to personal protective equipment will vary according to the nature of their role within the council, and is likely to change during their period of office.
“In the case of the Belfairs Woodland Centre, in line with all other construction contracts, the responsibility for the health and safety of the site rests with the contractor.
“I am confident that our current practice in this area complies with legislation and ensures that we fulfil our responsibility for the health and safety of all our employees, members and service users.”
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