Thursday, 1 October 2009

So If There Is No Bylaw.........?

Steve Cook, a photographer, was about to start a 'shoot' on the public beach at Sandbanks, Dorset, on behalf of Help for Heroes - the organisation that helps wounded service personnel - when he was stopped by a council warden. The official warned Cook that, under a new bylaw, he needed a licence and to do that insurance cover for public liability was required and a risk assessment needed to be carried out first.

Poole Council said they had not passed a bylaw, but introduced a permit rule. Anthony Rogers, the recreation manager is quoted as saying "There is no bylaw prohibiting people from taking photographs on our beaches and the advice provided by the beach warden was incorrect. But we ask any organisation wishing to use council-owned land to seek permission and provide evidence of public liability insurance."

FFS! If there is no law against this activity, why should anyone have to 'ask permission'? A photographer, with a camera, filming someone training for a trek across the Sahara is a 'hazard' - one that other people cannot avoid? It reminds me of an incident, during the European election period, when having erected a stall in Witney market to hand out anti-EU literature, I was approached by a PCSO asking if I had 'permission' - she went away with the proverbial 'flea in the ear' too!

Source: Print edition of the Daily Telegraph, 01/10/09

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