Cutting the strands of the mutual neighbourliness
HOUSEHOLDERS should consider carrying out a risk assessment before allowing their neighbours to cut down trees, health and safety chiefs said last night.
The suggestion came as it emerged that a Scottish landowner was being investigated after an elderly friend died while chopping down trees for firewood on Malcolm Forbes' estate in Aberdeenshire.
Mr Forbes said: "[Mr Bremner] wanted some firewood, which was a reasonable request from a friend and neighbour.
"A police investigation was launched and the police closed the file and decided it was a tragic accident. Now the HSE has decided to waste taxpayers' money, which I'm extremely upset about.
"I'm not going to do anyone a favour if this is the result. It is ludicrous.
"Someone has their priorities wrong if taxpayers' money can be spent [on this].
"It is a very sad reflection indeed that those who have authority in such matters allow yet another strand of the mutual neighbourliness that binds together those of us who live in rural areas to be weakened." ...
Mr Bremner's partner, Violet Smith, said: "The HSE are going overboard.
"If James was still alive he wouldn't have wanted this. The police said it was an accident and what more can you do? Nothing will bring him back. I just hope this investigation will be called to an end.
" I do not want Mr Forbes to be prosecuted over this. I don't blame him in any way. He was only doing James a favour."
She said Mr Bremner had known what he was doing and had been involved in such work all his life.
Triplicate forms and box ticking isn't how it works in cases like this, trusting an old boy to do what he has been doing without fatal injury for all his life seems quite reasonable. Doing people favours makes for communities, on one hand the government chucks money at fatuous "community" schemes on the other any real genuine community spirit is bound and strangled with red tape.