TIM LOUGHTON: Imperative to act quickly on report findings
Last Friday was a big day for not only the families of the victims of the Shoreham Airshow tragedy but also the whole of the local community who had so openly stood shoulder to shoulder with them in grief and empathy.
The crash report by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) may have been more than 18 months in the making, but apparently such reports usually take longer and certainly no stone had been left unturned with the amount of detail it covered.
Having visited the AAIB at Farnborough before Christmas and met the very experienced team behind it I saw at first-hand the very professional job they have done and we owe them our gratitude.
The report was never designed to point the finger of blame.
It provides many technical answers about what caused the plane to act in the way it did and now it is over to the police to determine whether any criminal charges should be brought.
Whatever the answer to that question is it is imperative that they decide quickly, with the help of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), and then explain very transparently the rationale for whatever course of action they take.
Only then can the important work of the coroner resume and the families eventually achieve some form of closure.
Beyond that there are of course many practical lessons for other air shows to take on board and I am pleased that the AAIB and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) have acted quickly to see additional safety considerations put into practice.
In too many cases though they really should have been there already.
On a happier note I was pleased to speak at the launch of the 1001 Critical Days Manifesto at Chichester.
This is a joined up approach to peri-natal mental health which we pioneered in Parliament with the support of all political parties.
West Sussex is the second county, after Northamptonshire, to become a 1001 Days authority and it was great to see midwives, health visitors, social workers, councillors and other practitioners all in the same room excited to explore better ways of working together to help give the youngest children the best start in life.
See more details at www.westsussex.gov.uk/campaigns/1001-critical-days
To mark Internet Safety Day Sompting computer services firm JSPC again sponsored a competition for local primary schools to design a poster and I was delighted to join their boss James Stoner to judge them again.
There were several hundred entries and JSPC have done a really good job of inspiring local schools to get their pupils to take this important issue seriously, and this was reflected in the difficulty we had choosing the winners and beneficiaries of some great prizes for their schools.
Well done to JSPC and all the schools involved and here we are with the winning entries.
• If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at [email protected]
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