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Last Updated: Monday, 4 December 2006, 18:57 GMT
Mince pie danger to be assessed
Mince pies
Organisers have to consider the risk of people choking on the pies
Organisers of a village Christmas party have been told they must carry out a risk assessment of their mince pies - or their festivities will be cancelled.

Council bosses say posters will have to be displayed at the party in Embsay, in the Yorkshire Dales, warning villagers the pies contain nuts and suet pastry.

The cocoa content and temperature of the hot chocolate must also be checked.

Resident Steve Dobson said the rules had made the small party as difficult to arrange as the Great Yorkshire Show.

Mr Dobson said he learned of the regulations after writing to Craven District Council to ask if he could use a car park outside Embsay village hall to hold the free party for the community.

Bureaucracy 'gone mad'

He planned a fireworks display, mulled wine, Santa's grotto and free mince pies made by members of Embsay and Eastby Women's Institute.

"It is bureaucracy gone mad", Mr Dobson said.

"The council gave me a huge list of things we had to do. I wrote back, a little bit tongue in cheek, asking if I really had to risk assess free mince pies and a brass band, and they said yes.

We support these community events and try to help local communities make sure they are as safe as possible
Jonathan Kerr, Craven Council
"Everything we do, from putting tinsel up to providing refreshments has to be assessed. We have to consider the dangers involved, that someone might choke on their mince pie or have a nut allergy.

"I also understand that Santa may need a Criminal Records Bureau check.

"For a small Dales village we found it a bit of a joke really.

"It's gone from us hoping to use a bit of council property for a community party, to needing the same sort of planning we would have to put in for the Great Yorkshire Show."

Mr Dobson said it he was now considering moving the party to private land elsewhere in the village.

Craven Council's director of community services, Jonathan Kerr, said: "We support these community events and we try to help local communities organise them and make sure they are as safe as possible."

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