203Landowners are being reminded of their responsibilities regarding the upkeep of potentially life-saving public rescue equipment.

Durham County Council’s Open Water Safety Group is carrying out a countywide review of water safety to ensure that public rescue equipment, such as life rings, is available where it is needed the most.

It is also vital that the equipment is suitably housed and maintained so that it is fit for purpose.

As part of the review the council is writing to a small number of private landowners in the Teesdale area about informal arrangements that have taken place with them over several years. This has involved the council carrying out discretionary inspections of public rescue equipment on private land.

Kevin Lough, chair of the Open Water Safety Group, said: “Landlords are required to maintain any public rescue equipment located on their land.

“It is therefore really important that we now review these informal arrangements to ensure these checks are in place. We would like to assure people that we will not be removing any public rescue equipment and are only proposing transferring responsibility of ongoing inspection and maintenance to the landowner.

“We will also make sure we fully understand all individual circumstances and any recommendations following the outcome of the review will be made on a case-by-case basis.”

Once the review is complete the council will work with any landowners who are required to take over the management of the equipment to make sure they are fully prepared and equipped with all the information they need to ensure continued safety to the public.