Saturday, 4 December 2010

Health and safety doesn't ban 'secret Santa'

Minority Thought has already covered this but here's a quick mention of the latest example of the Mail's health and safety myth-making:

The 'Secret Santa' has been leaving presents on a tree in a park in South Wales but, the Mail rages:

he didn’t bargain for today’s elf and safety legislation.

But the next two sentences prove that isn't really true:

Foul weather has ruined some of the presents left at Pembrey Country Park near Llanelli, South Wales – and the finders have simply thrown them away as litter.

So now he faces the threat of prosecution under litter and fly-tipping laws.

So not health and safety at all then.

But has this 'Secret Santa' been banned? Well, councillor Clive Scourfield is quoted saying:

‘We certainly don’t want to be the first authority to be labelled Scrooges for citing Santa for fly tipping. We would like to come to some kind of arrangement to better distribute his generosity – even if it is anonymously.’

And, from park manager Rory Dickinson:

‘Tis the season to be jolly and giving – but this does cause us a few problems. We cannot leave the presents out because of littering issues. Rangers have started a collection and will pass on the gifts to a suitable children’s charity.’

So they're looking for other ways to get the gifts to children. That's not really a 'ban' - and it's certainly nothing to do with health and safety.


  1. According to the South Wales Evening Post (part of the Daily Mail General Trust), the foul weather that damaged the presents happened last year.

  2. When this article was first posted on the DM site the headline screamed something about the Secret Santa being 'threatened with prosecution'. They've obviously had to shift direction a bit, wailing about non-existent health and safety enforcers in place of non-existent legal threats.


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