The past few days have seen reports of fatal accidents in Britain involving a tree and a parasol blown by the wind, and, in Vanuatu, a deadly coconut. The biggest danger in urban areas, however, is the lamppost.

A woman was killed in Vanuatu in the South Pacific yesterday when she was hit by a coconut in wild and stormy weather as she was collecting fronds and branches for use in securing her home against the cyclones currently ripping through the island. In Staffordshire on Sunday a man was killed when a tree fell on his car; and in Cardiff on Saturday, an elderly woman died after being hit on the head by a large parasol. In London, a woman was severely injured on Monday night after being struck by a falling lamppost.

While flying coconuts and parasols may be considered freak accidents, and there is little one can do - other than staying indoors during high winds - about trees, accidents involving lampposts ought not to happen. Yesterday, the AA and the Institution of Lighting Engineers warned that more people could be injured because local councils cannot afford to replace corroded lampposts. And the causes of corrosion? One expert identified three of them: road salts, which are used against ice, certain weedkillers, and "the attentions of dogs".