Fears of 'avoidable tragedies' due to council road safety delays

 

A leading road safety charity has expressed concerns over major delays to a speed reduction programme in Flintshire CC, which is at least six months late already with the vast majority of interventions still to be delivered.

Brake said it hoped ‘avoidable tragedies’ would not occur as a result of the setbacks.

In 2009 the Welsh Government advised all highway authorities in Wales to review speed limits and implement the identified changes by end of 2014.

Months after the deadline, Flintshire has completed just five of the 37 changes which were agreed in its review, and has not yet advertised 25 of them. All 37 changes involve reducing existing speed limits.

Road safety charity Brake said it was important that local authorities were able to implement recommended reductions in speed limits quickly and easily, without being delayed by red tape.

‘Speed is a factor in the vast majority of crashes, so we hope avoidable tragedies do not occur due to these delays,’ said Brake spokesperson Sarah-Jane Martin

Stephen Jones, Flintshire’s streetscene and transportation chief officer, said progress had been slower than expected due to the complexity of the new orders, dealing with objections, and ‘low staff resources, both within the traffic section and legal section of the council’.

He expected that by drafting in an agency engineer, the authority could be able to complete all outstanding schemes by 30 November.

The situation is also likely to have financial implications for Flintshire, as the authority had planned to fund the speed limit changes from the Welsh Government’s prudential borrowing initiative. That low-cost funding stream has now been closed by the Welsh Government and so is no longer available for the remaining costs, estimated at £210,000.

‘The costs will therefore be met from the streetscene and transport budget, and an in-year budget pressure will be created as a result,’ said Mr Jones.

 
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