Schools are about to be out for summer and Slough MP Tan Dhesi has endorsed the council’s campaign to keep people out of the Jubilee River during the holidays.
The man-made flood relief river claimed the lives of two young men who had gone into the water to cool off in the hot weather last summer.
Dajarn Daly, 17, lost his life last July after going into the water as temperatures soared. His family has joined the council in warning other young people of the dangers of the river due to strong undercurrents near the weir and the very cold temperature of the water.
The Environment Agency is the guardian of the Jubilee River and the riverbanks, and it commissioned and placed two signs either side of the waterway off Windsor Road, Slough. Representatives have worked with the council, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Thames Valley Police to discourage people getting in the water.
Mr Dhesi joined representatives from the Environment Agency, the council and Jamie Green, the director of the Jubilee River Riverside Centre who regularly tells people paddling in the water about the dangers.
He said he hoped the signs would prevent people from getting into the water and added: “There were two young girls here recently who were getting into the water and I told them to get out as two young lads died here last summer. They got out, they listened. Before the deaths people would ignore me.”
Mr Dhesi said he raised the issue in Parliament after the deaths in 2018 and now wants a debate in the Commons for water safety to be taught in schools.
He said: “I commend the council and their partners, the Environment Agency, Royal Berkshire Fire and Rescue Service and Thames Valley Police who have collaborated to put this new sign at the Jubilee River.
“The river is very unsafe because of the strong undercurrent which can drag people down and because of how cold the water is which can lead to cold water shock.
“Sadly, there were two fatalities last year and I have brought this up in Parliament.
“Please be very careful along the Jubilee River and take notice of the signs because the consequences of getting in the water can be serious.”
Ian Ware, Environment Agency Asset Performance Team Leader for Lower Tribs and Jubilee River said: “Do not swim close to the weir. Weirs are man-made structures which hold a variety of hidden dangers, such as strong currents and fast flowing water. Please pay attention to the warning signs, use this area responsibly, and stay safe near the water”.
Cllr Natasa Pantelic, cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing said she hoped the permanent signs at the riverbank would make people think twice about getting into the water however inviting and hot the weather.
She said: “We want people to stay safe as the weather gets warmer and that means not getting into the water at all.
“The weir looks shallow and looks like people would be able to paddle or cross from one side to the other. But the river level and flow can change at any time because it is a flood relief rather than a natural river.”
Note to editors:
Pic shows Jamie Green, Director of the Jubilee River Riverside Centre, Slough MP Tan Dhesi, Garry Tallett Slough Borough Council’s Group Manager - Community Safety, Ian Ware the Environment Agency’s asset performance team leader for Lower Thames, Lower Tribs and Jubilee River and Victoria Smith an asset performance officer Lower Tribs and Jubilee River