Archive for the ‘Road Safety’ Category

Campaign Issues for 2013

April 15, 2013

DSCF2820THE GREEN Party are proud to announce that they are standing over 1000 candidates are standing in May’s County Elections, with 14 candidates standing across Northamptonshire.

The Green Party’s key campaign issues for 2013 include:

No to Welfare Cuts — The Green Party believes that cuts to essential welfare programs like jobseekers’ assistance benefits, NHS services, and disability living allowances will only harm the economy further. The Government’s failed austerity measures have done nothing to bring Britain out of the recession and only served to line the pockets of banks and big business, leaving those who are most in need of assistance helpless. Green led Brighton and Hove Council has paved the way in declaring “No evictions for the Bedroom Tax”.

Yes to a Living Wage — The Green Party believes that all people deserve a living wage, rather than a minimum wage. This means earnings should be no less than 60% of net national average earnings (approximately £8.10 per hour). The institution of a living wage will help ensure low paid workers earn enough to provide for themselves and their families and eradicate poverty in Britain for good. Green Councillors are leading the way in making their councils Living Wage employers.

Transport —The Green Party is committed to introducing 20mph speed limits across the UK, improving pedestrian and cyclist safety. Cycle lanes where possible and genuine improvements in local public transport (increased buses to rural areas and improved local train service). We oppose the HS2 rail system, which is at its core a deeply flawed project that will not deliver the benefits it promises. The rail project is economically unsound, as the train as planned will cost each parliamentary constituency an average of £51 million—money which could be better spent on improving existing essential services. Furthermore, the proposed train will burn nearly 50% more energy per mile than the Eurostar, making the HS2 project both a financial and environmental disaster.

No to Incinerators — The Green Party firmly opposes the construction of new incinerators anywhere in the U.K. Incinerators are costly, dangerous to public health, and can be easily replaced by greener forms of waste diversion. Not only are incinerators dangerous to both the environment and the population, releasing harmful gasses and particulate matter directly into the atmosphere, but building new incinerators is also completely unnecessary. Encouraging the reduced production of waste and encouraging growth of recycling programs has proven to be one of the most effective forms of reducing overall waste, which would eliminate the need for more incinerators entirely

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The 20mph Revolution – Good News, Millions of Drivers Face Lower Speed Limits

January 1, 2013

pg1-20mph-bartholomew2Millions more motorists could soon face reduced speed limits as new research by The Independent suggests that more than a third of local authorities have introduced measures to stop drivers exceeding 20mph on at least some roads, or are planning to do so.

In what is being hailed by campaigners as a “cultural shift”, as well as a significant reversal in decades of policy which prioritised motor vehicles over the safety of pedestrians and cyclists, new figures show that dozens of cities and towns across England and Wales have either approved slowdown zones or are now considering introducing them. It is claimed a 10mph cut in the maximum speed limit could lead to a 40 per cent reduction in the number of road casualties, as well as reducing pollution, promoting cycling, walking and local shopping.

Meanwhile, public backing for a blanket 20mph limit in built-up areas has reached more than 60 per cent with support particularly strong among women, younger people and pensioners, a ComRes survey for The Independent found.

Eight million people are already living under authorities where 20mph limits are in operation such as Liverpool, Bristol, York, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and parts of London. Islington in north London is set to become an entirely 20mph zone by March, with the only roads excluded from the scheme those managed by Transport for London.

Of the 75 local authorities in England and Wales that responded to a survey by this newspaper, 27 said they had introduced or were in the process of considering default 20mph zones, while six were awaiting new guidelines from the Department for Transport.

Twelve councils said they were already operating the system while 39 said they had no plans to do so. Four authorities had undertaken some work in the area but their position was unclear.

Although the majority of 20mph zones already established are self-enforcing, with police claiming they have insufficient resources to implement the lower speed, some councils, including Oxford, are planning to make them legally binding. Thames Valley Police recently said it was prepared to prosecute motorists that seriously breached the limit, while a spokesman for the Association of Chief Police Officers called for zones to include measures – such as speed bumps – that “physically ensure driver compliance”.

The pressure group 20’s Plenty, which campaigns for the lower speed limit, claims there is growing grassroots momentum for a change. Supporters claim the 10mph reduction could breathe new life into areas where people felt intimidated by fast moving traffic. Rod King, founder 20’s Plenty, said communities saw levels of support go up after the lower limit had been implemented. “I think people are no longer trying to justify it only in terms of road safety. ”

“This is about making places better places to be. There is recognition of very wide benefits. There is a cultural shift that cars can’t blight our communities like they have done in the past. It is not about being anti-car. It is about putting it in context of enhanced communities.”

The most recent figures from the DfT show that 24,870 people were either killed or seriously injured on Britain’s roads in the year to June 2012 – up 1 per cent of the previous 12 months. And while deaths and serious injuries rose year on year by 5 per cent for pedestrians and 9 per cent for pedal cyclists, the number of motorists injured or killed fell by 5 per cent.

A 2009 study by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine suggested 20mph limits could reduce casualties by up to 40 per cent. At 20mph only one in 40 pedestrians is killed in a crash.

Lower driving limits have already received the backing of the European Parliament, while the Government said it was up to local authorities to decide whether they wanted them. Local Transport minister Norman Baker said the Coalition had recently consulted on the issue.

“We believe 20mph speed limits are useful in certain areas and support their introduction where it can be shown that they improve road safety and quality of life. However, this is a decision that should be taken locally by councils who know the needs of their area, not in Westminster,” said Mr Baker.

Meanwhile, the Government appears to be backing away from its 2011 pledge to raise the motorway speed limit to 80mph after facing anger from road safety campaigners. Although the idea has not been officially dropped inside Whitehall, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said last month, it was no longer a priority.

According to The Independent poll, asked whether such a blanket limit should be implemented in residential areas to improve road safety, 62 per cent agreed, 36 per cent disagreed and 2 per cent replied “don’t know”.

Andrew Howard, head of road safety at the AA, said while there was considerable support for the lower limit in theory, disagreements became apparent when defining what areas should be included in the zone. “We very much support 20mph limits on residential streets. The question is what is a residential street? Some roads are used for getting around town and they should remain at 30mph,” he said.

Why so slow? the rise of the 20mph limit

One of the key figures in the rise of 20mph speed limits in the United Kingdom is Ben Hamilton-Baillie, an architect, urban planner and traffic consultant whose work and research was influential in moves such as the one by Islington Council in October to limit all of its managed roads to 20mph. Islington claims a 65 per cent fall in accidents in its 20mph areas.

As part of research into how pedestrians and cars can share outdoor space more safely, Mr Hamilton-Baillie spoke to cranial pathologists who showed him statistics proving that the risk of mortality from a car collision isn’t just linear – it accelerates significantly after 20mph.

The explanation is that the human skull has evolved to withstand impacts up to around 20mph because that’s about as fast as a human can run into something. It’s also easier to keep traffic flowing at 20mph as a road with a 40mph limit will need extensive safety controls.

Source – The Independent

Green Party welcomes NHS report calling for hump-free, bump-free 20mph speed limits on all residential roads

January 24, 2011

Health directors’ new report agrees with long-standing Green Party policy

The Green Party this morning welcomed a new NHS report (1) on road deaths and injuries which strongly recommends a general 20 mph speed limit, without humps and bumps, on all residential roads.

Directors of Public Health in the North West have produced the report, which draws attention to the high rates of death and injury on roads in the region where children are more likely to be injured in RTCs than anywhere else in the country.

Green Party spokesperson on sustainable development Prof John Whitelegg commented:

“This is an incredibly important report from NHS Directors of Public Health. It says we have a serious problem with death and injury on the roads and it says the solution is a 20 mph limit. I agree.

“The report presents compelling evidence that lives could have been saved and injuries reduced if 20 mph limits had been introduced in residential areas.”

The reports main points include:

· Child casualty information shows that two-thirds of children who are killed or seriously injured on the roads are boys.

· Over four-fifths of child casualties occur on roads that have a speed limit of 30 mph, and statistical modelling shows that up to 140 killed or seriously injured child casualties could be saved each year if 20 mph speed limits had been applied in these areas.

In the report, road traffic casualty rates are measured for all local authorities in the North West. Stockport is the “best” with 342 casualties per 100,000 population and Eden the worst at 793 per 100,000 population. Lancaster is 477 casualties per 100,000 population.

Other regions may have slightly better records, said the Greens, but they would be advised to follow the 20 mph policy to reduce road deaths further.

Notes

1. The full report, Road Traffic Collisions and Casualties in the North West of England, was produced by the North West Public Health Observatory in conjunction with NHS North West, the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, the Child and Maternal Health Observatory and the Trauma and Injury Intelligence Group. See http://www.nwph.net/nwpho/Publications/Forms/rta.html.

2. Further information from Green Party press office, 020 7561 0282.

INVESTMENT IN PUBLIC TRANSPORT THE ONLY SOLUTION TO SNOW CHAOS, SAY GREENS

December 21, 2010

Poor transport infrastructure is government failure, claims The Green Party.

The current disruption to travel services caused by snow highlights the government’s failure to invest in transport infrastructure, the Green Party claims today.

A lack of provision for extreme weather means that the UK transport system has been overwhelmed by the recent heavy snow, with thousands of people stranded, and Christmas travel plans disrupted.

The snow is one in a long list of problems facing road users. The price of petrol has reached record highs, roads are increasingly congested, and carbon emissions from the transport sector are continuing to rise. These problems are all set to worsen.

The Green Party argues that the never-ending misery for travelers highlights the need for a shift towards funding a more reliable public transport system. This would go some way towards addressing the travel chaos caused by snow, and keep the UK moving during bad weather.

If public transport is to be a real alternative to road travel, new rail and bus routes need to be opened and existing ones improved. The reliability of trains needs to be improved, and exceptional weather factored into design.

The Greens would like to see massive investment in public transport, in order to improve rail and bus services. This investment would have many economic and social advantages, including job creation, safer streets and improved air quality.

The Green Party claims that this investment must begin immediately, if a repeat of the current travel chaos is to be avoided.

Published and promoted by Spencer Fitz-Gibbon for the Green Party of England & Wales, both at 1a Waterlow Road, London N19 5NJ.

‘Scrapping speed cameras will risk lives’

September 8, 2010

Lives will be put at risk if councils scrap speed cameras, the AA has warned. The vehicle breakdown firm says a recent camera switch-off in Oxfordshire has alarmed residents, and led to fears of an increase in speeding.

Devices could be scrapped elsewhere in the UK after the government cut central funding for speed cameras and reduced the road safety budget by £38 million.

The AA claims there is currently a “void” in road safety policy which could lead to an increase in crashes.

Cutting central funding for speed cameras is a central plank of the government’s pledge to end the ‘war on motorists.’

But the AA says the views of motorists are “not being reflected accurately” in the national debate on the issue, and that “ultimately lives are at risk.”

Speed cameras were axed in Oxfordshire at the end of July after the county council withdrew £600,000 in funding due to budget cuts.

Thames Valley Safer Roads Partnership said earlier this month that the number of drivers speeding past the county’s deactivated speed cameras had increased by up to 88% as a result of the switch off.

‘Harsh financial reality’

AA president Edmund King said that decisions to scrap cameras were being made based on “harsh financial reality, coupled with perceptions of what the government’s longer-term intentions might be.”

He said “people are more concerned about the battle to save lives on local roads that could become race tracks” than the government’s pledge to end the so-called “war on the motorist” by cutting funding for speed cameras.

“Cameras will never be loved but their use is accepted by the majority of motorists. If cameras are situated in the right place, on the right roads with the right speed limit, they can be effective and will be accepted by the public,” he said.

The AA has written to Transport Secretary Philip Hammond to raise concerns about the issue.

About 6,000 speed cameras have appeared on Britain’s roads since they were introduced in 1992, generating some £100m in fines each year.

The Department for Transport has said road safety remains a priority for councils despite speed camera cuts.