Report into canoe deaths calls for regulation: National register for activity centres urged Disaster inquiry says register 'inevitable'

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The Independent Online
AN URGENT call for a new national register to regulate outdoor activity centres was made yesterday following an inquiry into the Lyme Bay canoe disaster in which four teenage school pupils died.

The inquiry concluded that a national independent registration system was both 'inevitable and desirable and should be developed as soon as possible'.

The report says that once a regulation system is set up no publicly funded school or youth group should be allowed to use a centre unless it has been properly registered.

Two chief officers from Devon County Council headed the internal inquiry into the disaster which claimed the lives of four teenagers from Southway comprehensive school in Plymouth, Devon, in March.

Simon Jenkin, a senior education officer, and Philip Jenkinson, county solicitor, said: 'We do not wish to see a reduction in the number and type of outdoor activities undertaken by young people, and we recognise that there will always be a degree of risk when young people undertake such activities.

'However, we believe . . . a national system of registration is inevitable and, indeed, desirable.'

The families of the dead pupils joined June Mowforth, the school's acting head teacher, at a news conference at a Plymouth hotel yesterday.

The parents are campaigning for a public inquiry into the tragedy and want the Government to implement the county council's findings without delay.