Why mayor is not in favour of extra railings around Bristol’s harbourside

A petition signed by 4,000 people was launched for extra safety measures around the water last year

<p>Some railings are already in place at Narrow Quay, where Joseph fell into the water</p>

Some railings are already in place at Narrow Quay, where Joseph fell into the water

Introducing extra railings around Bristol Harbourside would be a ‘big call’, says mayor Marvin Rees, who instead supports other measures to improve safety.

The mayor was speaking following the death of 23-year-old Joseph Omar, who lost his footing and fell into the water at Narrow Quay in June this year.

The tragedy followed more than 70 water-related incidents in the city in the two years prior, of which 26 resulted in serious injury or death.

One of them - the death of 17-year-old Brooklyn-Lee Sheehan in 2019 - resulted in a petition being launched for extra safety measures.

Signed by more than 4,000 people, it called for thick glass, barriers or walls around the edge of the water.

Joseph Omar is pictured.

But speaking at a press briefing this week, Mr Rees said he could not support a plan for more railings.

Instead, he wanted more work to be done with businesses along the water’s edge on encouraging people to stay safe.

Just two months ago, Bristol city centre business improvement district (BID) launched a harbourside safety campaign up around the area.

Mr Rees said: “I think it is a big call to put railings up around the Harbourside - remember it is a really historic part of the city.

“Other measures have been put in place like the alert system for people falling in and there’s been alot of messages around harbour safety and work with the businesses down at the harbourside as well.

“I’m not a fan of railings around that space at the moment to be perfectly frank.

“I think there are other things that we can do about personal behaviours with those businesses around the harbour doing even more than they are doing to help protect their clientele.”

The campaign launched by Bristol city centre BID has seen a series of signs put up on railings, highlighting the different risks that the water poses.

Signs have gone up around the harbourside as part of the campaign by Bristol city centre BID

Dangers include the temperature, water quality and lack of places to get out.

The idea has been supported by Avon and Fire Rescue.

Group manager Harry Awramenko said: “The most recent incidents were tragic, and we are hoping that increased awareness of the risks of the harbour will help to keep people safe.”