County’s road safety partnership “not working”

THE number of people killed or seriously injured on Cambridgeshire’s roads will increase unless the county’s road safety partnership improves.

Councillor Peter Reeve, a district and county councillor for Ramsey, made the stark warning after taking part in a review of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Road Safety Partnership.

A damning report produced by the review team states: “The partnership is not working. There is a lack of vision, leadership and commitment.”

Worryingly, the report revealed that a key partner, Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service, has indicated that it would withdraw “if things do not improve”.

The report, presented to a county council committee last Friday, also criticised “a lack of clarity about the role and purpose of the partnership”.

It said the perception was that the partnership was dominated by the county council and that decisions were not reached as a whole.

Cllr Reeve said: “The problems can definitely be solved. Because we have made the solutions revenue-neutral any reason why they don’t deliver them is political.

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“If they don’t get it right, if they don’t implement our recommendations, then more people will start dying on Cambridgeshire’s roads.”

The review team made 19 recommendations, which will be put to cabinet for approval in due course.

One recommendation was that an officer should be appointed to lead the partnership as a whole, with another appointed to provide support.

Schools should be represented on the partnership, and a governor in each school should be given a road safety role to raise the profile of the issue, councillors said.

Cllr Reeve said the working group had taken an “objective, honest and realistic view” of the partnership.

“We called in a huge number of witnesses from various areas and these are the honest, fair conclusions we came to,” he said. “The committee previously hadn’t been working properly, nobody is denying that, and what we have set out are recommendations that could be realistically implemented.”

Andy Watson, area manager for operational response at the fire service said while good work had been done across the county in road safety, it was by partner agencies working alone, rather than the partnership.

“We are looking for the partnership to take on a leadership role, in terms of coordinating all the partners involved on specific activities and events,” he said. “The view of the fire service is that if the partnership cannot take up this leadership role, then the fire service will continue putting its efforts into working with the individual partners instead.”