Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Valentine's Day Massacre on our roads

The tragic deaths of six people on Lincolnshire’s roads today begs the question: what can we do to reduce the carnage?

As an elected county councillor and Police Authority member, today's tradegy makes me even more determined to achieve proper and effective scrutiny of the Lincolnshire Road Safety Partnership.

I’m sure the Partnership has done some excellent work in the years since it was formed - a few years ago Deeping St James Parish Council worked with them on a road safety campaign in our village.

But when I see national news reports today naming Lincolnshire as having one of the worst accident records in the country, we have to ask serious questions.

A few months ago, myself and others from the Police Authority arrived in Lincoln to launch a joint scrutiny of the Road Safety Partnership with Lincolnshire County Council.

It makes perfect sense to me that the major funders of the Partnership should come together to jointly scrutinise the work and see what we might do differently to improve road safety in the county.

Bizarrely, the County Council managed to send the wrong committee, the meeting had to be aborted so the 90 mile round trip up the A15 was wasted.

Ever since, I’ve been pushing - at meetings of the County Council and the Police Authority - for joint scrutiny to take place.

After all, one of the major criticisms in last year’s damning Corporate Governance Inspection report was Lincolnshire County Council's failure to work effectively in partnership with other agencies.

Here was a chance to show we could work effectively with others.

Or could we!

Just when it seemed we were making progress, I received a letter last week from the Police Authority suggesting it was proving impossible to arrange a meeting with the right people at the County Council.

I blew my top and appealed directly to the Chief Executive of the County Council to intervene.

He replied saying he agrees with me and will try to get it sorted.

Watch this space!

Meantime, the A52 Grantham to Nottingham road is likely to be closed just east of the A1 all day, and well into tonight, causing mass disruption to thousands of people.

Tragically, six people died on their way to work today.

We simply have to do better.

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