Safety review of Dee launched after death of schoolboy Jordan

Reporter:

Lois Hough

THE tragic drowning of a Flintshire schoolboy has prompted a major safety review.

Flintshire council yesterday backed a wide-ranging investigation of access to the Dee Estuary, after the death last year of nine-year-old Jordan Baker.

Jordan, of Connah’s Quay, was swept away while swimming in the river near the town’s docks in May last year.

Now councillors have vowed to learn lessons from his death, with the appointment of a single person responsible for the county’s coastline among a raft of proposals set to be put in place.

Carl Longland, the council’s director of environment, said in a report to the council’s environment and regeneration committee: “The tragic death of a nine-year-old in the Dee Estuary highlighted the ongoing risks that marine environments pose.”

He added: “It is important that the council reflects on these types of incidents.”

A risk assessment of the docks has now been launched to establish what improvements can be made, and a coastal safety expert will be drafted in to give advice on tidal patterns.

Members agreed that just one person should be responsible for activity along the coastline, including docks at Greenfield, Flint and Connah’s Quay.

It was also decided that the coastal unit should have a more practical role in the day-to-day management of the docks.

Shotton councillor Ann Minshull said: “I am very pleased to say that as a committee we welcome anything put in place to stop any more deaths or children going down to the foreshore.”

Deputy council leader Tony Sharps said potential dangers should not stop people from enjoying themselves.

He told the Leader: “Opening up the footpaths and cycle paths like we have done encourages tourism.

"We want safety systems in place to ensure that people can go down to the docks and enjoy themselves.

“Success doesn’t come without its problems and we want to reduce any potential dangers.”

Members are now planning a site visit to the estuary to establish how the visual appearance of the docks can be improved.

Cllr Minshull said: “This part of Shotton is so well used by residents. It’s the only place that people can walk their dogs without playing in traffic.

“The committee will be going to look at all the good work that is being done.”

An inquest in January recorded an accidental death verdict on Bryn Deva Primary School pupil Jordan, with North East Wales coroner John Hughes warning the river can be “treacherous”.

See full story in the Leader

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