Cumbria

South Lakeland Council fined £120,000 over bin lorry deaths

A Cumbrian council has been fined £120,000 after two women were killed by reversing rubbish lorries.

Mary Cook, 54, of Nottingham, died after being struck on a single-track lane off Easedale Road, Grasmere, in June 2010.

In March 2011, Dorothy Harkes, 58, from Ulverston, was fatally injured at St Mary's School, Windermere.

At Carlisle Crown Court, South Lakeland District Council pleaded guilty to two breaches of health and safety.

'Drivers admitted part'

The council, whose headquarters are in Lowther Street, Kendal, was also ordered to pay £50,000 in prosecution costs.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found the local authority failed to tackle the risks from reversing vehicles.

HSE's principal inspector for Cumbria and North Lancashire, Mark Dawson, said: "Both the drivers have already admitted their part in Mary and Dorothy's deaths.

"But our investigation found the council had not done all it should have to protect the public and their employees from the danger of reversing rubbish trucks."

The council's chief executive, Lawrence Conway, said: "These tragedies have had a profound impact on those directly affected and our own organisation, and we are sorry for the distress which has been caused.

"We accept our risk assessment process in relation to the locations of both accidents did not fully comply with the requirements of the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974."

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