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Zero worship

Letters

I agree with both Mr Dawe (NCE 5 April) and Mr Monteith (Debate 22 March) that 'safety at all costs' should be avoided.

'Safety is paramount' has, in my opinion, a different meaning, which I had hoped the remainder of my contribution to this Debate made clear.

It seems brevity has also led to misunderstanding on what I intend by 'zero accident policy'. Here I recognise that society expects continuous improvement in most if not all things and that different accident records are acceptable on different transport modes.

Any accident record on any transport mode can be improved, often at no great expense; and one of the best ways of achieving this is to identify near misses and prevent them occasionally becoming damaging hits.

Zero accidents can be targeted and action thresholds set at pre-determined levels of non-achievement. Over time, the threshold levels and response actions acceptable to society will tend towards higher standards.

I do not think that I have held Railtrack responsible for the actions of people outside the railway. In a wider context, Railtrack does have a leading role to play in the management with all other parties of such hazards which can have a major impact on services and safety.

But Railtrack 'wholly responsible'? No. And not said or implied in my contribution to NCE 's debate.

Clive Williams, secretary, Rail Passengers Committee Wales

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