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HSE responds to Max Hastings in the Daily Mail over National Trust claims

"An army under fire from elf'n'safety and a busybody culture making babies of us all" - Daily Mail, 8 February 2012
Response date:
8 February 2012

Dear Sir,

Your readers may be surprised to learn that I agree with much of what Max Hastings writes about the culture of risk aversion and the unrealistic quest to make life risk free (An army under fire... Wednesday 8 February, p.14). There is a real need to tackle this perception that all risk can be eliminated in every walk of life - it simply isn't possible or even desirable.

He is, however, misinformed about the relationship between the National Trust and the Health and Safety Executive. HSE has been working with the National Trust and others to draw up a common understanding of what risks need to be managed and how, so that the Trust can continue to provide all of us with access to our heritage and so we can enjoy open spaces. We have all contributed to the development of common sense guidance.

There is a balance to be struck and we have achieved that through discussion and cooperation - not harassment.

Yours faithfully,

Judith Hackitt
Chair, Health and Safety Executive

Updated 2012-08-02