1st January 2013
Kent Greens have roundly criticised Kent County Council transport
supremo, Cllr Sweetland, for his email claiming that "the casualty
figures for the Maidstone district are falling when the increased traffic
flow is taken into account" to defend the 50% increase in people killed
or seriously injured in the town in 2011.
Cllr Sweetland's email also goes on to refuse to introduce 20mph limits
across all residential areas despite his acknowledgement that "speed is a
factor in almost crashes".
Stuart Jeffery, Chair of Kent Green Party: "Cllr Sweetland's response is
more than disappointing, especially after the latest figures show a 50%
rise in serious accidents in Maidstone and that he accepts that speed is
a factor in almost all crashes. I simply don't understand how he can
justify not taking an urgent but simple step to reduce the high number of
deaths and injuries, especially when there is such high public support.
"With public support for 20mph limits in residential areas at around
73% and 8 million people living in authorities that have 20mph
limits there are simply no barriers to this. Coupled with the benefits
to road safety, and the potential reduction in air pollution and
congestion, I have to question his motives for not acting.
"Cllr Sweetland must act now to save lives. Further blocking of this
simple and effective is unacceptable."
FURTHER INFORMATION: Stuart Jeffery, Chair, KENT GREEN PARTY
07970 436029. Contact address as above. http://www.stuartjeffery.net
Alternate contact, Steve Dawe, Press Officer on 07747 036192 or 01732
355185. Please leave message if necessary on any of these numbers and we
will try to get back to you shortly. KENT GREEN NEWS, free monthly ezine,
is available at www.kentgreenparty.org Published by Kent Green Party and
promoted by H.Dawe, both at 27, Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF.
1. British Social Attitudes Survey 2011
3. Cllr Sweetland's (KCC Cabinet Member for Transport) email to Stuart
Dear Mr Jeffery
Thank you for copying me in on the recent email exchanges. I wanted to
set out the facts for the avoidance of doubt.
Looking at the Maidstone district, there was indeed a rise in the number
of crashes in 2011. However, it is important to put the figures into context.
* There were 412 car crashes on KCC roads in Maidstone in 2011, and
this should be viewed against the reduction seen between 2009 and 2010
(395 to 375). The number of car crashes in the district was 3% lower
than the 2004-8 baseline average of 424.
* The number of Killed and Seriously Injured crashes in the Maidstone
district in 2001 was 24, and this again should be viewed against the
reduction seen between 2009 and 2010 (29 to 16).
* Traffic in the Maidstone district increased between 2010 and 2011
with 146,069 more vehicle miles recorded in cars.
Any road crash casualties are a cause for concern. In context, the
casualty figures for the Maidstone district are falling when the
increased traffic flow is taken into account. Furthermore, simple
comparison in statistical variation with the previous year does not
necessarily present the true situation. For this reason local Highway
Authorities and the Department for Transport always consider at least
three years data to more accurately pinpoint issues that we should focus on.
There are many benefits to the implementation of 20mph limits in specific
locations and we already have nearly 800 roads in the County covered by
such limits. However, whilst speed is a factor in almost all crashes,
there are many other causation factors that should be taken into account
when considering appropriate responses to crashes and casualties on our
roads. A targeted approach, rather than an indiscriminate "blanket"
reaction, has served Kent well over the years in the reduction of road
crashes and I intend to maintain that approach. We have a close
relationship with Kent Police, and their current position on 20mph zones
is that they should have an element of self enforcement which would not
require a Police presence unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Following further pilot schemes in the Maidstone area, we will be
considering our 20mph policy in 2013 and we will consult widely to ensure
that appropriate cost effective solutions to road safety issues are
delivered. This will ensure that the limited amounts of public money we
have for road safety education, enforcement and engineering are spent
with the utmost efficiency.
I hope this provides some clarification for you.