Headlines: June 21st, 2010

A motoring organisation has claimed a number of local authorities are about to scrap road safety partnerships because of public spending cuts. The RAC Foundation said it had seen a letter from ‘the top official to people prominent in the road safety arena’ and it warned that the impact of such a decision would be measured in lives lost on the roads.

The new Government has already said there will be no more money for councils for new fixed speed cameras. The whole question of road safety grants to local authorities is also under review.

The RAC Foundation said the letter it had seen warned of the possible dismantling of road safety partnerships and the decommissioning of large parts of the enforcement infrastructure, including traffic cameras, specialist police officers, civilian camera operators and back office functions. It also suggests that offender re-education schemes, such as speed awareness courses, are under threat.

The letter says: “I am aware that a number of authorities are now well down the road in planning to wholly withdraw from partnerships within days.” The RAC Foundation’s director Professor Stephen Glaister said this was a shocking warning because road safety measures delivered huge benefits in relation to their cost. He added: “But these sweeping cuts mean that trend could very soon be reversed. The impact of this decision will be measured in terms of lives lost. It is as stark as that.”