Local resident publishes video in bid to save Rochdale’s road safety team

12.00 | 11 January 2016 | | 7 comments

A local resident has taken to YouTube to protest against planned cuts to Rochdale Council’s current road safety provision.

The cuts would see Rochdale’s road safety team disbanded, much to the concern of the video’s producer, who narrates the film but has not named himself.

The Rochdale Council proposal reads as follows: “Currently road safety and education training is provided on a face to face basis – this proposal would change that delivery to maintain compliance with relevant safety education material sourced from the Transport for Greater Manchester Road Safety Partnership, Royal Society for the prevention of Accidents, Road Safety Great Britain and provide this to the schools and community.

“This would be in the form of a bulletin giving details or where further training can be obtained, and would still meet the minimum standard as set out in the road safety Act.”

Honor Byford, chair of Road Safety GB, has described the proposed cuts as “deeply concerning” and offered to work with council leaders to develop a viable business model to enable the service to continue.

The video outlines the work undertaken by the team including going into schools and colleges to promote road safety and deliver pedestrian and cycle training.

A teacher from the local Wardle Academy says that without the road safety team this training “would fall apart”.

The video also highlights the the team’s wider involvement with local residents through examples including dispensing in-car safety advice and drink and drug driving awareness.

The film also features an interview with a retired road safety officer, Paul Birch, who points out that removing the road safety team would contradict the Road Traffic Act of 1988.

Mr Birch says the act “places a statutory function on all local authorities to deliver road safety education and training”, adding that there “has to be somebody in place to be able to give that information and to give practical training”.

He also points to the financial implications of removing the road safety team, claiming that the casualty figures in Rochdale in the last 12 months show six deaths, costing a total of “over £6m”.

The video says that according to DfT figures, the average cost of a road death in the UK is £1.7m. It adds that Rochdale Council currently employs two full time and one part time employee “at a fraction of this cost”.

The video dismisses claims that the council could maintain the service without road safety officers, describing its position on the matter as “deeply flawed”. The narrator says outside of the casualty reduction team, the council has “no trained, experienced or specialised personnel” who can provide a road safety service.

Click here to read the Rochdale Council proposal and to access an online survey where people can give their views on the proposals.

In a further interview in the five-minute film, Dr Nick Plant from the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital says “a comprehensive road safety package is really important in reducing the number of children who come through our A&E” adding that his service is “clearly stretched”.

The narrator concludes that “the dedicated teams sent into schools by local authorities to teach our young people the skills they need to survive” is one of the reasons the UK has one of the best road safety records worldwide.

He adds that Rochdale already has in place a “cost effective and efficient system that is keeping our children safe” and asks without a casualty reduction team, “what will the next generation learn?”.

Commenting on the proposal to disband Rochdale’s road safety team, Honor Byford, chair of Road Safety GB, said: “Road Safety GB is deeply concerned at this proposal to completely remove the road safety education service in Rochdale. This is a statutory duty that the council is required by law to provide for its residents.

“Rochdale council currently possesses, at a very modest cost,  a highly skilled and experienced team and  their comprehensive network of contacts in schools, colleges the NHS and communities which, once it is gone, would take years to replace. This is a tangible asset.

“Rochdale ‘s casualty figures are currently lower than would be expected for a metropolitan area with its levels of social and demographic challenges, which is testament to the effectiveness of the work of the road safety team.

“I have written to the council leaders offering to help develop a viable business model that would enable the service to continue as the residents of Rochdale clearly want.”


Comment on this story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Report a reader comment

Order by Latest first | Oldest first | Highest rated | Lowest rated

    6 comments about a member of the public trying to protect RSO jobs but nearly double on article about reduced traffic police figures. We need to blow our trumpets louder in house and to the public about what we do. RSGB has a great track record of interviews and articles but not so much badgering councillors.

    Peter Westminster.gov.uk
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    I made a comment a couple of weeks ago as to why was so much cash (£50 million) being made available for cycle training important as it is, and yet actual road safety budgets are being cut to the bone. I said then I could not see the logic as the two subjects went hand in hand, I think the Rochdale article rather enforces my argument!

    Mike Hancox MD Colan Ltd Warwick
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Promoting the THINK resource websight is possibly allowed in law as disseminating advice and information at a level deemed appropriate by the authority, however it will have no way of measuring uptake and delivery by already overpressed teachers. Way back in the late 70s a London borough lost their team and delegated someone to get RoSPA to issue schools with posters. Within 18 months they were recruiting for a new team and then had new staff needing training! As I commented on the story about fewer traffic police we need to do a new headcount of road safety teams.

    Peter Westminster
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Some politicians know the cost of everything and the value of nothing.

    Mark – Wiltshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Thanks Alan for highlighting the RSGB work that goes on behind the scenes when something like this happens. You are right in that this video coming from outside our industry is worth more than in-house protestations.

    I just think it is deplorable that Road Safety teams are being reduced and dissolved (in some cases), while numbers of Roads Police continue to be savagely cut, with a minimum of public outcry. Attempt to reduce the numbers of Firefighters though, and it is shouted from the rooftops by a strong union which knows exactly how to pluck the population’s heartstrings and garner support.

    David, Suffolk
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    David, it is good that a member of the public has taken up the mantle to protest in this way, and the fact that it is a member of the public may have a greater impact.

    Road Safety GB does provide much support to threatened services although this is usually in house and is not overtly advertised. We provide a ‘crisis management’ service and always, when we are alerted to such circumstances, write to local members, heads of services, and Chief Executives, expressing our concerns and offering support and suggestions of alternative methods of delivery that can actually help road safety teams become financially sustainable.

    I agree we all need to do more to publicise what is going on in some areas of the country, and I am pleased that we are able to run this story now. We are in dialogue with Rochdale and we hope that we can help resolve the situation.

    Alan Kennedy – Road Safety GB
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Of course, I deplore Rochdale’s myopic proposal to cease road safety work. I am heartened though that a member of the public has produced such a good video, highlighting the folly of such a move.

    Rochdale’s proposal will no doubt be replicated in other areas, so it is odd that we as a road safety industry have in part left it to the public to blow our trumpet for us. Contrast this situation with that of the Fire Services around the country who face cuts. My Facebook newsfeed regularly features publicity about the possible results of cuts in their numbers. They are doing much to make the public aware of their cause, even though the move away from coal fires, smoke alarms, and modern electrical wiring have reduced house fires to an all-time low.

    We, as an industry, ought to be doing far more to publicise what is going on. How I wish we had something similar to the FBU to sing our praises.

    David, Suffolk
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.