Barrier blocked by bureaucratic inertia

I WAS delighted to read Mr Bruce Durham, of Amble’s letter, expressing yet again, the need for a physical barrier on Holy Island causeway.

This would be especially in the interests of health and safety and cost effectiveness.

I entirely agree with Mr Durham that if there is no physical barrier there will continue to be a percentage of adventurous or unthinking drivers who will try to beat the tide. We may have another private adjective to describe them.

Although it was not printed, I wrote to the editor five or six years ago saying that I saw ‘the problem’ as a design problem for a single student, or a team of A-level design and technology students. At best, it is First Year undergraduate material. It is not rocket science, in the context of today’s understanding of electronics and mechanical engineering.

In general terms the design brief would probably look for these things.

Access roads would need to be fenced for a distance at each end of the causeway, to guide vehicles to the barriers and to stop vehicles from avoiding the barriers. A type of funnelling system.

Sensors would need to be situated in suitable positions to activate the two barriers to close simultaneously, when the incoming tide reached a certain distance from the causeway. Different sensors would be positioned to open the two barriers when the tide receded.

I recall that such an electronic brief was outlined in the Gazette by Alnwick Computers some years ago, but authority would rather not take the problem seriously enough to do something other than deliver some flashing boards, which were not being used elsewhere just now.

A complete installation would probably not cost more than one or two car rescues - which, history suggests will be necessary before the end of May.

The ‘notice board of precautions’ for drivers to read whilst driving, would fail any level of design technology exam as the answer to solving this problem. The inactivity in solving this problem is an unbelievably sad reflection of bureaucratic inertia. Or is it island people-power?

Convinced of Thropton

Name and address supplied