Ross McGuiness, Yahoo 29th January 2019

 

Dozens of adventure playgrounds across the UK face closure after their insurer threatened to back out.

Charities have warned that 70 playgrounds, many of which are in deprived areas, are under threat, The Times reported.

It said Zurich insurance has informed those playgrounds whose policies were ending that they are not likely to be renewed.

Charities said the playgrounds, which are already struggling because of public sector cuts, are crucial to children’s wellbeing.

In emails seen by The Times, underwriters from Zurich gave notice to playground providers that it was re-evaluating its policies.

“Zurich’s appetite has changed towards adventure playgrounds,” it said.

In an email to Glamis playground in Shadwell, east London, it said: “Adventure playgrounds pose unique risks to an insurance company.

“The site looks very busy with a lot of non-standard play equipment.”

The insurer said it was “seeing an ever-increasing claims culture and an increase in the cost of settling claims”.

It has also sent notices to playgrounds such as Hornimans in London and Felix Road in Bristol.

Suzannah Walker, from Glamis, told The Times she did not know of any insurance claims they had made in 15 years.

“Our staff are risk-aware,” she said. “Aware of the benefits of risk and also able to assess where a risk is unacceptable.

“Without it our local population will be robbed of a vital and unique service.”

Nicola Butler, chair of Play England, said: “This is potentially a real nightmare. They can’t open if there isn’t public liability insurance.

“These are places for children to try something different. It is an opportunity to engage in nature, take more risk, but do so with qualified staff around.”

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