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The Daily Telegraph article: "Heritage railway burdens"

Geoffrey Podger, HSE's Chief Executive responds - 10 February 2006

The Editor
The Daily Telegraph
Salters Hall
3rd Floor
4 Fore Street
London, EC2Y 5DT

10 February 2006

Dear Sir

David Morgan's letter to the DT (10 February) on new regulations for railways does not provide an accurate picture of HSE's proposals. The new regulations are streamlined rather than excessive. Indeed, they consolidate the existing framework and in many areas reduce bureaucracy.

The current regime where Her Majesty's Railway Inspectorate (HMRI) examines and formally approves new works, plant and equipment is being changed to one where railway operators take responsibility to manage the risks they generate through independent verification of new equipment. Operators benefit from greater flexibility and HMRI can concentrate on providing more effective advice, support and proportionate enforcement for all railway companies, focusing on areas of greatest risk to passengers and railway workers.

The package does implement European requirements, but without 'gold-plating'. For example lower risk heritage operators, particularly those that operate at 25 mph and under, are exempted from the EC certification processes for mainline railways.

HSE worked with the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR, the new regulator for rail safety) and industry to develop the final package of regulations for transport systems, which are designed to ensure that risks to health and safety are controlled, in a proportionate way.

Geoffrey Podger
Chief Executive
Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2010-05-10