Telegraph mocked for ‘forgetting Britain has left the EU,’ claiming UK parks could lose swings because of EU health and safety rules

“Looks like the Torygraph still thinks we’re in the EU.” 

The Telegraph has been accused of forgetting that the EU referendum ever took place and ramping up ‘anti-EU Project Fear,’ for an article that claimed children’s parks in Britain could lose their swings due to EU red tape.

The report focuses on a playground in Beer, Devon, built ‘to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.’ The coastal park has been replaced with a pirate-themed play area, as part of a £400,000 taxpayer-funded revamp of five playgrounds in the region.

“But there will be one notable omission. The new playground will have no swings, partly because of EU standards retained in the UK after Brexit,” it notes.

The report continues how, “despite the UK leaving the EU at the end of 2020, more than 4,000 tracts of EU legislation were copied and pasted into the British lawbooks – preventing officials from having to write thousands of new laws to replace those made over 47 years of union membership.”

The article specifically objects to the rule involving the measurements of swings and the distance they must be away the frame and seat. According to the Telegraph, such legislation is ‘threatening playgrounds.’

The newspaper even notes how Britain had helped create the European rules on playground safety more than 20 years ago, and how, since they were incorporated post-Brexit, they have become the default of British standards of safety.

Seemingly politicising the story, the Conservative-backing newspaper speaks of an aleged backlash that Geoff Jung, the Liberal Democrat councillor in Beer responsible for parks, has faced from his colleagues on the council, who, according to the report, “want Britain to break free of EU laws.”

Cllr Colin Brown, the Conservative group leader on East Devon District Council, told the Telegraph that residents would be angry if “European laws were adopted for everything.”

“The last thing the Lib Dems want to do is leave Europe, isn’t it? They’re being very political at the moment because you’ve got an election coming up,” he said.

The report cites the views of several senior Brexiteer Tory MPs, including Jacob Rees-Mogg and David Jones. Jones, who serves as the deputy chairman of the Eurosceptic caucus of Tory MPs, the European Research Group (ERG), told the Telegraph:

“This is just, in its own way, another example of why we need to be rid of retained EU law. As a consequence of the Retained EU Law Act, a large body of European law still prevails as assimilated British law.”

The article was widely mocked online.

“No, we have not gone back to 2016 and this is not one of those secret Vote Leave ads that were sent to illegally targeted people on social media, this is the Daily Telegraph yesterday… it’s obviously far too woke for our children to play on swings that are far enough apart that they cannot crash into each other.

“Not only that but the article goes on to admit “Britain helped create the European rules on playground safety more than 20 years ago and since they were incorporated post-Brexit, they have become the default British standard of safety,” pro-EU campaigners, Leeds for Europe posted online.

“Looks like the Torygraph still thinks we’re in the EU,” Chris Shaw, a former commercial lawyer posted on X.

Edwin Hayward, author of ‘Slaying Brexit Unicorns,’ accused the Telegraph of ramping up ‘anti-EU Project Fear,’ posting:

“Key takeaways from the article:

  • The relevant EU regulation was set back in 1999
  • It’s not mandatory
  • Britain helped craft the rule

“Despite all that, they still took a pop.”

Sheffield for Europe mocked: “Pesky EU and shame on the UK government for adopting a policy which protects our children from harm. Let’s return to the ten foot high metal sides of concrete which ‘never did me any harm.”

Gabrielle Pickard-Whitehead is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward

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