A new government scheme will see many of Britain’s cities, towns and villages of rated in a manner similar to that adopted by the British Board of Film Classification.
The new system has been designed to give visitors and prospective residents easily accessible information on a any given area, according to Minister for Housing Yvette Cooper. ‘In today’s economic climate Britain’s population is much less sedentary as households look for work around the country,’ she explained.
Preliminary grading has already been carried out in many areas, provoking some controversy. While residents of quaint Home Counties villages such as Littlewick Green have been celebrating their ‘U – Universal, suitable for all ages’ rating, the people of the Herefordshire town of Bromyard are less happy with their rating of ’15 – Contains Mild Peril’ which was attributed to the underage drinking in the town centre and the risk of treading on sick on a Saturday morning.
Many local authorities, particularly those from rated 18 areas, are said to be disputing their scores, which they say will have a negative impact on their already tarnished images. One such area is Nottingham, where statistics of 73.5 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15-17 have resulted in an ’18 – Contains Scenes of a Sexual Nature’ score. Several London boroughs have also fared badly and are said to be mounting a joint legal challenge against their ’18 – Contains Violence and Strong Language’ grades.
Around the area of Heathrow the scheme is even more contentious as Harmondsworth, Sipson, Harlington and West Drayton have all been graded as ‘XXX – Contains Extreme Horror and Violence’. Critics and pressure groups allege that the government is colluding with developers and that this classification is designed to clear the area for the proposed airport expansion. However government grading officers are adamant that their score is correct. ‘You want to see violence?’ said one inspector, ‘Just wait until the bulldozers move in.’
14th March, 2009