Labour’s shadow roads minister has accused the Government of a record of failure on road safety in the ongoing row over the unspent £75m for improvements to local roads.
Karl Turner MP (pictured) asked ministers whether the remaining £75m of the £175m Safer Roads Fund will be spent on road safety or incorporated into other budgets.
In a written answer, roads minister Jesse Norman again declined to answer the question directly but appeared to confirm suspicions that the cash had been put towards the budget announcement of an extra £420m for local highway maintenance.
He said: ‘£100m has been allocated to tackle the most dangerous roads in England; that sum fully funded all bids from the local authorities concerned. Since then the Department has announced a further £420m for local highway maintenance and repair.’
The minister added: ‘Other local roads funding continues to help keep our roads safe, together with investments in targeted actions such as the recent competition to develop a mobile breathalyser.’
Mr Turner told Transport Network: ‘The minister has only confirmed what we originally feared; the unused £75m of the Safer Roads Fund has simply been incorporated into other budgets, not on making dangerous roads safer for people.
‘Despite having a good rhetoric on road safety, the truth is that the Government’s legacy so far is one of disappointment and failure.'
He added: ‘The number of deaths on our roads has remained around the same level since 2011. One road death is an unacceptable tragedy, never mind almost 1,800 in 2017.
‘It is clear that transport ministers could and should be doing much more to make our roads even safer. A good start would be to use the remaining £75m of the Safer Roads Fund to improve safety on more high risk roads, as originally announced.’
The Road Safety Foundation has said that £75m spent on another 40 high risk roads could prevent 1,100 fatalities and serious injuries over 20 years.