Extra security measures brought in at old South Yorkshire quarry to stop swimmers

Security at a disused quarry in Stairfoot has been ramped up, in a bid to stop people swimming in the dangerous waters.

Wednesday, 23rd June 2021, 9:36 am

Hanson, which owns the old brickworks quarry off Wombwell Lane in Stairfoot, has worked alongside Barnsley Council to put in place a number of safety measures to prevent swimmers taking the plunge into potentially dangerous waters.

Measures include steel fencing to restrict access from surrounding footpaths, clearing up the main access to the site, and a border of reeds and brambles will be planted around the water’s edge.

Wire will be installed on the banking running alongside the water’s edge that is currently used to access the stone pier.

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The old quarry.

Councillor Andrew Gillis, who represents the Stairfoot ward, has been working alongside the site owner Hanson, and the council’s Safer Neighbourhood Service to implement the measures.

Coun Gillis contacted the Safer Neighbourhood Team and Hanson last week, and says they have “bent over backwards” to ensure the site is made safe.

“Nobody wants to spoil anyone’s fun”, he added.

“It’s to stop any fatalities really, or bad accidents.”

The council will also consult the Environment Agency to look at options of dying the water, in a bid to discourage any swimming.

Cllr Jenny Platts, cabinet spokesperson for Adults and Communities, said: “Reports of people swimming in this area have been taken extremely seriously. Our officers have been visiting the site and working closely with the site owners. We are pleased a number of measures have now been put in place to prevent anyone accessing the water.

“We urge all residents not to enter unsafe, open water, which is extremely dangerous. Jagged rocks, rubbish or strong currents could be hidden out of sight. People also need to consider this is a serious health risk – dead animals, toxic algae and industrial pollution all represent a threat to your health if you swim in stagnant bodies of water such as quarries.

“We will be monitoring the area and work to identify anyone trying to access the site.

The council say there is a potential to hand over ownership of the quarry site free of charge to any wetland conservation group, environmental group, community group or even a fishing club in the future, which will be explored.

Simon Day, aggregates regional director at Hanson UK, said: “We have been working with the local council to warn local people of the dangers of swimming in the body of water at our disused Stairfoot quarry.

“Unfortunately, the 35 new safety signs posted around the perimeter of the water were all destroyed within a few days. Additional fencing and signage are now being installed to try to prevent trespassers entering the site and coming to harm.

“Quarry lakes are dangerous: they frequently have very deep, cold water, sudden changes in depth and unstable sides that can be difficult to exit.

“Last year there was an increase in water-related deaths in the UK and figures from the National Water Safety Forum (NWSF) show that more than half of these were accidental drownings at inland locations, such as quarries.

“We are active members of the Mineral Products Association, which supports the NWSF #RespectTheWater campaign and also runs an ongoing Stay Safe campaign to prevent members of the public being killed or injured in quarries and related sites due to venturing in uninvited.

“Patrols at Stairfoot quarry are being stepped up to closely monitor the site and we urge members of the public to stay away no matter how tempting the water may seem, particularly in warm weather.”