Monday, 1 October 2012

Is it fair to blame the HSE for the demise of ice cream vans?

There has been a recent article in the Daily Express partly blaming health and safety bosses for the demise of the ice cream vans.

The article states that Councils have put the ice cream sellers into meltdown by banning vans from certain areas because of concerns about childhood obesity. Other authorities have limited how long vans can sound their chimes over concerns about noise pollution.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) chair Judith Hackitt has responded with an article headed Don't use health and safety as an excuse to give us a licking, where she commented that she felt they were taking the blame for over protective parents, child obesity, noisy jingles and bad weather.

It is clear that Britain’s ice cream vans are stalling their way into a winter of discontent and towards an uncertain future in which they face becoming as endangered as milk floats. However not all of which can be blamed on health and safety regulations.

Long list of expenses for ice cream sellers including insurance and trade licences together with soaring petrol prices have helped drive a flake into the heart of an industry already on its knees.

Stuart Whitby, managing director of Whitby Morrison, the UKs largest manufacturer of ice cream vans has said “Street vending has dramatically changed. Supermarkets are selling ice cream far more cheaply than ice cream vans can, every corner shop and garage forecourt has an ice cream freezer.”

In my view, taking the above into account, it is clear a number of factors have affected this particular trade and the blame cannot simply be put on the HSE. What we need to bear in mind, is that although your average ice cream vendor is struggling with his trade, many other industries are in the same position. Families might not have thought twice about buying their children an ice cream in the boom times, but now with most peoples finances having taken a whipping, they are thinking twice.
Mofozzul Hussain (Solicitor/Office Manager)

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