A stinging attack on “compensation culture” has come from shadow home secretary David Davis.
The government-backed green space campaigning group CABE Space claims local authorities are paying out £117 million for bogus or excessive insurance claims.
Davis wrote in The Spectator: “The rise of compensation has coincided with the loss of many of the most attractive aspects of parks and public spaces. Ancient trees, boating lakes, adventure playgrounds, festivals, markets, water features and public art are all deemed too risky.
“Green spaces are… shorn of all ornament, with trees pruned back to the trunk, conkers swept up before dawn… and lakes filled in.
“It is at local level that the compensation culture is most damaging. Volunteering is in sharp decline, with ‘risk, fear of blame and litigation’ the factors most often cited by people giving it up.
“Overall, we need to nurture a culture of responsibility and common sense,” he said.
Davis called for changes in the law affecting liability and said: “We need to think about cutting the cancer of litigation out of the public services altogether, except when
a public servant may be said to have recklessly endangered those in his charge.”
CABE Space director Julia Thrift said: “Local councils lack vision and are often too cautious.”
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