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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 December, 2004, 11:02 GMT
Cocklers still at risk claim MPs
Cockles being poured from a net
Mrs Smith says the risks will heighten during the winter months
MPs calling for tougher regulation of the cockling industry say workers are still at risk following the deaths of 21 cockle pickers in February.

Thirty-nine MPs, led by MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale Geraldine Smith, have signed a Commons motion calling for improved safety laws.

Mrs Smith says many cocklers disregard health and safety rules and says another tragedy is "waiting to happen".

MPs want legislation brought forward to protect cocklers in the winter months.

The group points out that the Morecombe lifeboat has already been called out 63 times this year.

Mrs Smith has previously warned there is a particular problem with Chinese illegal workers at Morecambe Bay, and has called for temporary work permits for them and a proper licensing system.

She has also criticised the Heath and Safety Executive (HSE) for a "complacent" attitude to the issue of safety in the bay.

However, the HSE says it has been working with Defra and the Department for Work and Pensions on safety and licensing issues.




SEE ALSO:
Cockle gang turf war investigated
08 Aug 04 |  Lancashire
Cocklers in offshore crash saved
07 Aug 04 |  Lancashire
Cockler safety tackled at meeting
16 Aug 04 |  Lancashire
Cockle tragedy 'may happen again'
04 Aug 04 |  Lancashire
Pair face cockling tragedy charge
14 Jul 04 |  Lancashire


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