The London Road Safety Council (LRSC) has criticised the Government for a lack of leadership in tackling road deaths and has called for renewed commitment to road safety.
The LRSC comprises officer and elected member representatives from the 33 London boroughs.
Councillor Val Clarke, LRSC chairman, recently wrote to the prime minister and the ministers for transport, education and business to raise concerns over the apparent lack of commitment being given to road safety.
In reply, Stephen Hammond, road safety minister, said: “I can assure you I take the safety of children and all road users very seriously and I agree that road deaths are a tragedy.
“The Government continues to provide substantial funding for local transport, including road safety. However, it is for local authorities and communities to decide how resources are used to improve road safety in their local area.”
According to LRSC, cash squeezed local councils have (on average) reduced their road safety education teams by one third since 2008, and in some cases disbanded the whole team – leaving communities unable to access important road safety information, advice, and training.
LRSC also draws attention to the fact that Government spending on national road safety campaigns has been slashed from £19m to £4m since 2008, and road safety television adverts for children are to be axed.
Councillor Val Clark said “With such terrific strides having been made in reducing road deaths in the UK over the past quarter of a century, we are concerned that ministers are resting on their laurels while people lose their lives.
“Through making casualty reduction a national priority, by allocating resources, and setting challenging targets, we have seen road deaths cut by 50%. The saving of literally tens of thousands of lives surely represents the best value for money.
“But now we see evidence that the tide is turning. With reductions in funding at a time when London in particular faces new challenges with a hugely diverse population, we need to redouble past efforts and not bury our heads in the sand believing that the battle is won.
“We are concerned and very disappointed that lives will be lost and others ruined when what we need is a renewed commitment from the Government to continue this priority work. At the moment we see a lack of commitment and leadership in tackling road deaths.”
For more information contact Mark Bunting, press officer, on 020 3045 5875.