Arun District Council is standing by its decision to make childrenunder 14 wear hard hats at a recent family fun day in Bognor, West Sussex, where donkey rides were available on the promenade – not on the beach.

The council had come under attack from a donkey owner who was running the rides, according to a recent report in the Daily Mail.

It says the donkey owner, Paul Wells, believed there could be “health issues, such as nits” and it would be “difficult” to keep changing and fitting young children with hats.

But principal environment health officer, Angela Tanner, told Horse & Hound Online that the council was “merely following health and safety guidelines on the wearing of protective headgear for children under 14”.

She said the owner was required to provide hats because the concrete promenade was considered to be “on the road” and did not come under one of the exemption clauses in the guidelines, which cover many beach locations.