EU bans playtime – Fun areas shut in ‘safety’ move
Children’s playgrounds are being closed all over the country as councils find it impossible to keep pace with European safety standards. It means a trip to a play area with traditional swings, slides, roundabouts and climbing frames could become a rare treat for the nation’s children. One city is considering shutting 150 play areas because of the new safety rules and the rising cost of insurance.
(Daily Express, 21 October 2003, page 20)
The Daily Express ran a story of local playground swings being torn down earlier this year. They even published a letter from the European Commission pointing out that the EU had no involvement at all. However, that did not prevent them publishing this very similar story only a few months later.
The measures concerned were set by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN), a non-EU body comprised of standards agencies from 22 European countries, including the British Standards Institution. It sets voluntary guidelines and is a separate institution from the EU.