This guide relates to lakes, ponds, reservoirs, flooded quarries and other stretches of open water. It does not cover open air swimming pools, or land and premises affected by the Harbours Act 1964. The numerical annotation made in this guide is for statute law, the alphabetical refers to case law. Both are found in the References section of this document. This guide considers the liability risks of local authorities with responsibility for the land on which the water feature exists. These are risks to the public, to children in particular, but also employees, contractors and service providers (paid or volunteer) working on or near the water. The guiding principle is that all open water is maintained ‘so far as reasonably practicable’ in a safe condition for the public, employees and contractors. Guidance on the designing-in of safety features can be found from organisations such as RoSPA and RLSSUK (see useful links further on in this document).
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