Motherwell theme park will continue to trade

editorial image

A threat to close down M&Ds Theme Park after the rollercoaster crash in which nine people were injured has been lifted.

Councillors have given unanimous backing to the operators of the Strathclyde Park funfair following the near-tragedy three years ago.

Their decision not to revoke a public entertainment licence was welcomed by the company which insisted the attraction is safe.

Earlier this year M&D Leisure was fined £65,000 for failing to ensure its Tsunami rollercoaster ride was maintained in an efficient state.

Hamiton Sheriff Court heard how cars derailed and plunged 20 feet to the ground.

The casualties, aged between 11 and 19, sustained a catalogue of injuries.

One boy, aged 12 at the time, had to be resuscitated after he stopped breathing. He suffered two punctured lungs among other injuries and was in an induced coma for six days

An 11-year-old boy lost part of his hand and was in hospital for four weeks. His hand was reconstructed using skin from his leg.

The court was told welding repairs carried out to axles on the ride’s individual passenger cars were “inadequate and unsound”.

M&D Leisure had employed contractors to do the work and the ride had been passed safe, but the company accepted it should have involved the manufacturer or another “competent person” in the process.

Police Scotland had questioned in light of the accident whether M&Ds was a fit and proper operator, but North Lanarkshire Council’s regulatory committee dismissed the complaint after a two-hour meeting behind closed doors.

M&Ds, which employs around 450 people, welcomed Tuesday’s decision not to revoke its licence.

Company lawyer Lamont Baillie said: “This is a conscientious firm which gives safety paramount consideration and employs its own health and safety inspector.

“The committee was satisfied M&Ds has done everything humanly possible to comply with Health and Safety Executive requirements.

“It was held responsible in court in terms of legislation which imposes strict liability, but the fault lay with a firm which failed to carry out non-destructive testing properly.

“We’re talking one incident in 50 years that wasn’t even the company’s fault so M&Ds is a safe resort.”

A council source said: “Common sense prevailed.

“All of the councillors present agreed that M&Ds had done everything it could in terms of health and safety, and accepted its systems are even tighter now.

“As for the police, you wonder why it’s taken them so long after the event to raise concerns.”