July 2010

Transport Select Committee

Louise Ellman MP has been elected, unopposed, as Chair of the Transport Select Committee. For the first time MPs voted for the chairmen of the various Commons select committees. The ballot was counted under the alternative vote system – the same as that to be offered to the British public in a referendum by the coalition government.
The Conservatives and Labour parties have already held elections for MPs to sit on Select Committees. The Liberal Democrats will announce their appointments soon.

The new Transport Committee has six new MPs, an ex-transport minister (Tom Harris) and a member of the committee from the last Parliament (Angela Smith). Each appointment needs to be confirmed but at the moment the Committee members are

Labour

Lillian Greenwood
Tom Harris
Kelvin Hopkins,
Angela Smith

Conservative
Angie Bray
Dr Kwasi Kwarteng
Paul Maynard
Iain Stewart

Parliamentary  questions

Since the Summer Solstice, Parliamentary questions have been asked by Tobias Ellwood MP (www.pacts.org.uk/2010/06/british-summer-time-2/)   and Baroness Miller of Hendon about British Double Summer Time.  www.pacts.org.uk/2010/06/daylight-saving-time-2/

Viscount Simon, Vice-Chairman of PACTS has asked a series of Parliamentary questions on Drink Driving. Data provided in one answer showed that between 2000 and 2008 the number of females proceeded against at magistrates’ courts and found guilty went up by almost 3000 while the comparable data for men showed that the number had decreased.

New PACTS officers

Following the General Election PACTS must re-establish as an Associate Parliamentary Group. This will happen at the Inurgral Meeting in July. Louise Ellman MP has stepped down as Co-Chair but we are delighted that Peter Bottomley MP will continue. This year Peter will be joined by Jim Fitzpatrick MP, ex Road Safety Minister and John Leech MP as Co-Chairs. PACTS looks forward to working with Jim and John in highlighting transport safety issues in Parliament.

North Review

In June, PACTS welcomed the review of drink and drug driving law written by Sir Peter North.

Commenting on the report, Robert Gifford, Executive Director of PACTS, said “Sir Peter is a well-respected legal figure with a track record of analysing road traffic law. As you would expect, his report is both thorough and comprehensive.

“His key recommendation to lower the current alcohol limit for driving is in line with the scientific evidence and will save lives on our roads. An earlier estimate by Professor Richard Allsop on behalf of PACTS concluded that a lower limit could save between 50 and 65 lives a year. It is interesting to note the evidence provided by NICE suggests even greater savings.

“Sir Peter is also right to propose that the current punishment regime should be kept in place at the new lower level. Success in combating drink-driving in Great Britain has been achieved through a combination of a known limit, effective enforcement, regular advertising and a clear level of sanction. Sir Peter’s report confirms the need to maintain this approach.

“Regular surveys of public opinion by organisations such as RAC and the AA show that public opinion supports a lower limit. I would urge the government to act quickly in response to this report and adopt its recommendations.

“On drug driving, Sir Peter is also right to argue that we need a sound evidence base for further action. Coroners should conduct regular tests for the presence of drugs in fatalities in road crashes. This would help us to understand the scale and nature of drug driving in this country.

“It is also right to call on the police service to ensure that there are sufficient police officers trained in field impairment testing and able to undertake this work. The police are an important resource in tackling both drink and drug driving.

“This report is a major step forward in policy terms. It clarifies the legal position for two key areas. Parliament now needs to back its conclusions so that we can continue our progress towards achieving the safest road users in the world.”

Reported Road Casualties Great Britain Main Results 2009
PACTS welcomed the further fall in road casualties shown in the Main Results issued last month by the Department for Transport: http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/statistics/datatablespublications/accidents/casualtiesmr/rrcgbmainresults2009

Commenting on the results, Robert Gifford, Executive Director, said “The fall of 12% in deaths between 2008 and 2009 is higher than we predicted earlier in the week. It also far exceeds any fall in motorised traffic during the year. This suggests that improvements in safety on our roads can be sustained over a period of time. What is especially noteworthy is the fall of 26% in deaths in the final quarter. It will be interesting to know whether this level of fall was a one-off or will be maintained during 2010.

“However, of particular concern is the rise in serious and slight casualties among cyclists of 6% and 5% respectively. This may reflect increases in numbers of people cycling. If so, we need to ensure that they take up or return to cycling safely. What we want to see is more people cycling in greater safety, not an increased exposure to risk. The Department should look carefully at the extent to which its guidance on cycling infrastructure is being implemented by local highway authorities.

“One other aspect causes some concern. Table 5a shows falls in deaths on roads with 20mph and 50mph limits. However, on those same parts of the network, there were increases in serious and slight injuries. This may reflect reductions in average speeds leading to less severe impacts in the urban area. However, what we really want to see is reductions in overall numbers of crashes, not in just their severity.

“Some police forces have maintained substantial reductions in deaths over the last three years. Devon and Cornwall have seen deaths drop from 90 in 2007 to 78 in 2008 and 60 in 2009. Thames Valley Police has maintained its downward progress from 117 to 94 and 81 in 2009. In London, the Metropolitan Police have cut deaths from 220 in 2007 to 182 in 2009. Across Great Britain, deaths fell by 11%  in England, 12% in Wales and 20% in Scotland.

“These falls in deaths and injuries reflect the combined and co-ordinated efforts of local and national government, the private and the professional sectors to reduce death and injury. They have been helped by a target for casualty reduction that has provided a focus and a measure of public accountability. It is important that the new government publishes as soon as possible its target for further reductions beyond 2010.

“Reductions in crashes do not happen by accident. They happen through concerted and well-funded efforts based on research and evidence. We need to maintain that approach even in the mew more austere climate.”

Lighter Later

On Monday 21 June, the day of the Summer Solstice PACTS in conjunction with 10:10’s Lighter Later campaign held a Parliamentary Conference on British Double Summertime. The event heard from Elizabeth Garnsey of Cambridge University on the environmental savings, Robert Gifford on the benefits to road safety, Colin Dawson from the British Association of Leisure Parks, Piers and Attractions on the Economic case, Mayer Hillman on crime and the fear of crime and finally Tom Mullarkey from RoSPA on the  Scottish arguments. The event was well attended by Parliamentarians, Civil Servants and those with a vested interest in the subject.

Policy Call to Action on Child Wellbeing

Following a roundtable meeting in June comprising around 30 major organisations, PACTS has been working alongside the Child Accident Prevention Trust (CAPT) and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and will be producing a Policy Call to Action over the summer for which we aim to have a substantial number of signatories in time for publication after parliamentary recess. The Call to Action is in the draft stages, but is likely to call on Parliamentarians, ministers, civil servants, local authorities, researchers, charities, parents, young people and children to generate a shift in the way resources are allocated and spending decisions are made and to encourage a common sense approach to the protection of children and young people which will save more lives and reduce injuries.

10,246 children and young people under 25 were Killed or Seriously Injured (KSI) on British roads in 2008. In cost benefit terms, the value of prevention of these deaths and injuries was estimated to be over £3 billion. In the same year, whilst 764 of this age group were killed on the roads, funding for the protection of children and young people from risk was spent largely on child safeguarding, a policy area which sees much lower risks of death and injury. There are significant links between the various risks which children and young people face every day and it is vital that a holistic and preventative approach is taken to ensure that we achieve less death, less injury and less cost to the public purse.

 

Britain’s most dangerous roads: saving lives for less

On 30th June, the Road Safety Foundation published its annual survey on Britian’s roads. The report identifies specific roads that are 10 times more prone to death and serious injury than others in the UK’s network. One-third of all fatal and serious collisions occur at junctions, single carriageways are six times the risk of motorways and twice that of duals and one in seven primary roads is high risk compared to one in 33 non-primary.

FORTHCOMING PACTS EVENTS

On Yer Bike Besley

Enthusiastic cyclist Eleanor Besley, Policy and Research Officer at PACTS, is embarking on a sponsored bike ride to raise money for PACTS and raise awareness of the importance of safety across the transport modes.

Ellie will be riding between places which make up the word PACTS. Starting in Peterbough, Ellie will travel to Alconbury, Cambridge, Thurlow and finish at Stansted Airport.

There is an obvious transport connection between the places. Peterbrough is a 19th century railway town and one of the Department for Transport’s sustainable travel towns. Cambridge is a prime example for cycling as it is one of the orginal cycling demonstration towns. Stansted Airport speaks for itself. Train’s planes, bikes and cars will feature strongly during the day.

The money raised will go towards the publication of a series of policy reviews which will inform the new Government’s decision making with regard to transport.  Topics covered in the reviews are likely to include the safe mobility of an aging population, disadvantage and road safety and including safety in discussions about quality of life.

To sponsor Ellie, go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-web/fundraiser/showFundraiserProfilePage.action?userUrl=onyerbikebesley

Better, Safer Communities: the contribution from street design

6 October 2010, Royal Society of Medicine, One Wimpole Street, London

Over the last few years, there has been considerable professional, political and media interest in new approaches to street design. Shared space, de-cluttering, the naked street and simplified streetscape are all terms in common use. A key theme is the extent to which it is possible through the use of these – or other approaches – to manage the tension better between place and link, between mobility and liveability.

This conference, following on from the publication of PACTS’ report on “Shared Space” will offer an opportunity to reflect on the challenges facing urban development. Can we ensure environments that are good for walking and cycling and offer improved safety? To what extent do current practices help or hinder the development of new approaches? How can we balance safety and other policy objectives such as the improvement of the public realm?

Join us at this conference to debate these issues and to hear from a range of key speakers including

John Dales, Urban Initiatives
Andy Best, Transport for London
Richard Kimberlee, University of the West of England
Sabine Lutz, Shared Space Institute
Alex Allen, Sustrans
Eleanor Besley, PACTS
Andy Cameron, WSP UK

Full details including a booking form will be circulated shortly and will also be available via our web-site: www.pacts.org.uk

If you are interested in your organisation having a stand in the exhibition area at the conference please contact Gillian Reeves, Conference Manager at Gillian.reeves@pacts.org.uk

Roads, casualties and public health: the open sewers of the 21st century?

21st Westminster Lecture and ETSC’s 12th European Transport Safety Lecture
Tuesday 23 November 2010, One Bird Cage Walk, SW1H 9JJ

Every century comes with a major public health warning about the harm that we inflict on ourselves. In Britain in the nineteenth century it was the diseases we spread by tolerating open sewers. In the twentieth century it was tobacco that we slowly learnt to love, then fear. In the twenty first century it is the way we tolerate how cars are allowed to travel on our roads. Accidents involving cars are responsible for more deaths among children and young adults in Britain than can be attributed to any other causes.

What remains the same over time is our intolerance of suffering, of ourselves and those around us. Slowly, one by one, the causes of the greatest damage to health are progressively removed. This lecture brings together maps, statistics and arguments to suggest that we should now view our road transport system as the greatest current avoidable toll on public health.

Danny Dorling is Professor of Human Geography at the University of Sheffield. Danny’s current research interests include the visualization of spatial social structure through drawing atlases; the changing social, medical and political geographies of Britain as revealed by the 2001 Census.
This year, the lecture will be undertaken jointly with our sister organisation the European Transport Safety Council, making this the first ‘European Transport Safety Lecture’ to be held in the UK.

Transport Practitioner’s Meeting

Ellie Besley, Policy and Research Officer at PACTS will be presenting two research reports at the 8th Transport Practitioner’s Meeting on July 22nd. Her presentations will cover the findings of our recent publications ‘Beyond 2010’  ‘Taking Stock and Moving Forward’ and ‘Kerb Your Enthusiasm’.

Take Action on Active Travel

The Take Action on Active Travel working group met in June. The meeting offered a good opportunity for the organisations involved, including PACTS, to get a sense of the direction in which the coalition government are heading. The group was optimistic but felt the need for a review of approaches moving forward. For any more information about the policy call, please contact Ellie Besley at Eleanor.besley@pacts.org.uk

TISPOL Conference

TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network is delighted to announce that delegate and exhibitor bookings are now open for the annual international road safety conference which takes place at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Manchester Airport, Manchester, United Kingdom on Tuesday 28 and Wednesday 29 September 2010.

The theme for the conference is ‘Saving lives: a shared responsibility’ and the speaker line-up includes: Deputy Chief Constable Adam Briggs of North Yorkshire Police; Chief Superintendent Geraint Anwyl of North Wales Police; Chief Fire Officer Jimmy Campbell of Fife Fire and Rescue; Steve Davey of the Highways Agency and Kate Carpenter of the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation.

This year’s European speakers are drawn from the European Commission, University of Cologne, the Swedish Roads Administration, the Dutch National Road Safety Institute, the European Transport Safety Council and the Finnish Traffic Safety Agency.   There will also be a presentation from road safety consultant David Healy, formerly of the Road Safety Transport Accident Commission in the state of Victoria, Australia, who will present his country’s road safety model.

To book your place as a delegate or as an exhibitor, or to find out more information, please visit the TISPOL website (www.tispol.org).

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