Posted in News, Safety on 26 July, 10 |
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So fixed speed cameras are suffering death by a thousand cuts as the budget to run them is sharply reduced.
Oxfordshire County Council is reported to be scrapping the £600,000 it gives annually to the Thames Valley Road Safety Partnership, and the removal of that funding will see the partnership ceasing to maintain the 72 cameras currently to be found on the county’s roads. They could be mothballed within days.
The council’s decision is not entirely unexpected given the coalition government’s promise to end the ”war on motorists”, as part of which it pledged to stop providing local authorities with the money to operate its cameras – something it has already done.
But while there will be drivers all too pleased to see the back of the so-called yellow peril, there is a much broader problem associated with the slashing of the road safety budget which concerns the RAC Foundation. The roads minister Mike Penning says he hopes councils will now focus on other ways of reducing road casualties, but how can they do anything if the cash to do it with is not available? For example, if the government believes enforcing speed limits is a good thing, then who is going to do it? Certainly not the police who also face a large reduction in resources and manpower.
There is of course the question of whether the current speed limits are actually appropriate, and often a case can be made - based on local circumstances – for reducing them in some instances, and indeed for increasing them in others, as happened recently on a stretch of the A13 in London.
But the fundamental fact remains. Road safety measures, which go far beyond speed cameras, deliver huge benefits in terms of value for taxpayers’ money, so in this time of financial crisis road safety is not an area where budgets should be cut. Let us debate how the money is spent, but with 2222 people still dying in road accidents there is clearly work still to be done.
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Posted in Comment, News on 26 July, 10 |
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Government’s are often accused of creating pointless regulation or unnecessary bureaucracy. In response to this commonly held view the coalition Government has launched The Your Freedom website which gives people the opportunity ‘to tell the Government which laws and regulations should be cut. The motoring section has 278 comments and counting…almost as much as education (291)! Don’t miss the opportunity to have your voice heard!
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With the heavy snowfall of winter 2009/10 all but a distant memory now that balmy summer temperatures have arrived the Government’s Interim Winter Resilience Review published today gives much food for thought on how the UK might be better prepared if similar sub-zero temperatures are experienced this winter or in the coming years.
The review, being chaired by the RAC Foundation’s Chairman Dr David Quarmby, has at this interim stage recommended:
- That Government imports quarter of a million tonnes of road salt to help ensure we have enough salt to deal with a winter as bad as last year
- That all local authorities review and update their winter plans, including consulting fully on the networks to be treated, and considering whether less salt can be used while maintaining effective coverage
- That Government helps the public to help themselves by issuing a short, simple code on clearing snow and ice from pavements, to reassure and encourage them, and help guard against negligence claims.
- That properly coordinated research is needed to update various technical standards, so that local authorities have authoritative guidance for improving salt utilisation.
The Review’s interim report makes 17 recommendations covering highway authorities’ winter maintenance, the road salt supply chain, public expectations, weather forecasting and self-help by the public. It focuses particularly on the need to keep our road network moving in the event of snow and ice next winter.
Speaking about the Review, David Quarmby said:
“Last year, we just managed to keep traffic moving on the nation’s roads due to the concerted effort of local authorities, national Government and the road salt suppliers. But we came perilously close to running out of salt and many people found the winter months very difficult.
“We can’t know when such a severe winter will hit us again, but we can take steps as a nation, to ensure that when it does, we will cope better. This report highlights the short-term need for national Government and local councils to ensure that they have plans in place, and enough road salt, to deal with the possibility of another severe winter in 2010/11′.
The interim report and it’s final report due in the Autumn will provide a good basis for local government decisions if the country experiences similar sub-zero temperatures this coming winter, which will provide a great deal of comfort for those motorists who experienced the worst of the weather 6-8 months ago.
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