Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Danger of Death

Reading the story of the idiot who let his dog jump over the cliff  (and here for a blogger's eye view) then tried to blame the lack of warning signs has reminded me of this other example of pandering to people suffering from industrial levels of stupidity.

Our village has overhead electricity lines on discrete weathered wooden poles. As far as I know, with the exception of the time when a caravan came unhitched on a bend and rather spectacularly disintegrated around one, they have always been virtually unnoticed and unmolested.

Yet a year or so ago fluorescent yellow health and safety signs appeared on all of them, just above head height, warning of danger of death. Why? Small kids can’t climb round poles, bigger ones should know what they are for, while criminals trying to make an illegal connection know exactly what’s up there! Yet someone decided to spend our money adding lurid yellow signs onto every single pole and support strut all along every road, they even got the one in the party hedge up the garden between me and the neighbour. Unfortunately I was out at the time!

Then during the autumn last year I visited the North of Scotland and sure enough, marching across the hills and dales (or whatever the Scots choose to call them) every single electric pole serving every isolated house, shed or barn was afflicted by a fluorescent yellow plastic notice, thus drawing attention to what were the only man-made objects in an otherwise restful natural virgin landscape.

This was bad enough but round here phase 2 has started.  Presumably deciding that a sign visible from  only three quarters of the circumference was insufficient they came back months later and affixed sign bands over the top of the rectangular signs to circle the post completely. One supposes that just as cats will try every door on a wet day hopeful that one will lead to a dry garden,  H&S expected people to search out the unsigned safe side of the pole before climbing? Or perhaps they were worried that those of us in our houses, who look out the window onto the backs of the pole against our front walls, would be otherwise tempted to go for a quick midnight climb, as you do. Or indeed still could as the signs are unlit (note to self, don’t give them ideas!)

I wonder just how many wooden electricity poles there are in the UK. There are (Wiki answers) about 22 million households in the UK so shall we say 5 million poles? Towns have less, rural areas many more. Then shall we guess £25 to supply and fix a notice? That comes to a ballpark figure of 125 million quid, all no doubt paid for from our electricity bills and adding to the uglyfication of our environment.

No comments:

Post a Comment