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Don't blame government if roads are dangerous, says minister

TRANSPORT MINISTER David Jamieson last week rejected criticism that the government was failing to take road safety seriously enough.

The minister told an adjournment debate in the House of Commons that local safety plans had to be the responsibility of local authorities.

'On local roads, local authorities must make the decisions as they are best placed to respond to the local communities and take appropriate action, using the extra money that comes through the local transport plans, ' said Jamieson.

Jamieson was responding to criticism from MPs in a debate over the government's response to the transport local government and the regions select committee's report on road traffic, published this summer (NCE 4 July).

The report called for wider use of speed cameras, more guidance to local authorities about the setting of speed limits, and more funds to allow roads to be re-engineered to ensure that speed limits are obeyed.

'Some of the estates built in the 1960s had long straight roads with many intersections and were very dangerous, 'he added.

Jamieson's response failed to satisfy select committee chair Gwyneth Dunwoody. 'We can ask the government to do a better job in several respects.

'Why have they not responded to the recommendation that they should identify how much a comprehensive national package of traffic calming measures would cost?' she asked.

'The reality is that people do not respond to being told to drive slowly; they need some form of control.'

Demand for 20mph residential limit

ALL RESIDENTIAL areas should be traffic calmed and have a speed limit of 20mph in a bid to cut child road deaths, according to a report published this week by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR).

Deprived areas should get priority said the IPPR, a left wing think tank.

Research commissioned by the IPPR and Imperial College Centre for Transport Studies showed that children in these areas are three times more likely to be hit by a car.

The report, Streets ahead - safe and liveable streets for children, calls for all local transport plans to include pedestrian casualty reduction targets and a speed management strategy.

Just one in three local transport plans includes such a policy at present.

INFOPLUS www. ippr. org. uk

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