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North Yorkshire road safety team cut

North Yorkshire road safety team cut

Published by Local Democracy Reporter Stuart Minting at 3:39pm 20th February 2020. (Updated at 3:41pm 20th February 2020)

North Yorkshire County Council claims government cuts to public health forced it to cut its road safety team from six to one.

  • North Yorkshire County Council claims government cuts have forced it to cut its road safety team. 
  • The council has been criticised by the county's police, fire and crime commissioner.
  • Julia Mulligan described the move as “hugely disappointing”. 

Conservative-run North Yorkshire County Council has launched a defence of its attitude towards road safety - after being criticised by the county’s police, fire and crime commissioner for the move before facing questions from opposition members.

Earlier this month commissioner Julia Mulligan described the council’s decision to cut road safety staff as “hugely disappointing”, and stated road deaths remained “one of the most significant challenges that North Yorkshire faces”.

She also said it was disappointing the council “didn’t engage with partners” in the 95 Alive road safety coalition, which includes City of York Council, North Yorkshire Police, the county’s police and fire commissioner, Highways England and fire and ambulance services, about the consequences of the decision.

Julia Mulligan
Julia Mulligan

Some members of the partnership said the commissioner’s criticism had come as a surprise given that she had cut all the £254,600 her office gave to the partnership from road safety camera fines between 2018 and this year in order to pay for more car patrol officers.

They said funding had been raised as an issue by all partners since October 2017 and the partnership had been working to create an action plan to see how it can best work with a reduced budget.

However, a full meeting of the county council heard Labour councillor Tony Randerson suggest even elected members had been left in the dark. He questioned whether it was true road safety advisors would be cut from six to one and if it was “a wise move when health and safety on our roads should be a top priority for all our residents and holidaymakers alike”.

North Yorkshire County Council county hall

The authority’s executive member for access and road safety champion, Councillor Don Mackenzie, said the road safety team had received a grant from its public health department for the previous five years, which would stop in April.

The council has previously admitted the government’s 12 per cent cut to its public health grant would lead to tough decisions and the loss of £205,000 ring-fenced funding had led to the five road safety jobs being lost.

Cllr Mackenzie said the council was determined to continue several key initiatives run by the 95 Alive safety partnership.

He said:

“For me as road safety champion I am less concerned about people we employ and more concerned about the effectiveness of our road safety programmes.

“We will continue to fund Bikeability cycling proficiency, school traffic patrols and would continue to be a key and leading member of the 95 Alive partnership which was set up in 2004 to save 95 lives before 2010.”

Cllr Mackenzie also pointed towards the county’s long-term trend of declining road accident casualties, with 1,184 accidents in 2018, compared with 1565 in 2014.

He said:

“It’s a steep decline in terms of casualties, in other words it’s getting safer and safer even though are roads are becoming fuller and fuller.

“We do have target areas, we will continue to put funding towards that. Cyclists, motorcyclists, newly qualified drivers, old drivers, drunk drivers and drug drivers.”