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Lake safety review

Lake Safety review

Safety of our whole University community is our top priority so our Estates team has completed a full review of our Whiteknights lake. They worked closely with RUSU and took account of expert guidance from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and the Royal Life Saving Society, and we are now in the process of introducing several safety enhancements.

The Estates & Environment Committee, working with RUSU President, Molli Cleaver, and RUSU Welfare Officer, Gemma King, considered the review findings earlier this year and agreed a number of safety upgrades, including additional safety signs at all the main lake path access points encouraging users to use the main routes after dark, removing old sign posts and other obstacles, and re-painting the bollards at Black Bridge and White Bridge to make them more visible.

We will introduce some further measures during the spring term including:

  • Improved campus maps showing main campus routes more clearly;
  • New low-level fencing and reflective bollards at appropriate points around the lake edge;
  • Improved handrails at the weir crossing;
  • New ‘zig zag' barriers;
  • Improved lighting at the Black Bridge.

We will also trial having wardens positioned at main path junctions around the lake at night during the busiest times of year who can provide reminders on the best routes across campus.

Our Estates function has overall responsibility for the maintenance of our campus, and has always taken safety around the lake very seriously. Following the sad death of one of our students in February 2019, a decision was taken to do a thorough review, completed in April. Before finalising the recommendations, we waited to receive the full report following the inquest in August. The coroner found no indication that the conditions near the lake had contributed to this tragic accident and the earlier recommendations were reviewed and still considered to be sensible and appropriate.

We understand that some of our community have asked for lighting to be provided on the paths around the lake. This was discussed at length as part of the lake safety review. We have many major paths across campus that are surfaced, lit and observed by CCTV. Everyone involved with the review, including RUSU, agreed that these provide the best and safest routes to all major destinations at night and that the paths around the lake should not be used after dark. Lighting around the lake would encourage people to use these routes instead of the better alternatives and would go against expert best practice guidance for managing lakes and other bodies of water.

So we encourage you to enjoy our beautiful green spaces around campus and remain safe by observing the safety signs and keeping to the main lit paths after dark.

For further information about our campus and security, please visit Essentials.

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