Hampshire County Council’s Executive Member for Environment and Transport, Councillor Rob Humby, has today (Thursday 19 May) agreed a new approach to non-safety related traffic management schemes in Hampshire.
This approach will ensure that the County Council prioritises road safety measures within the reduced resources available to it, but gives town and parish councils more flexibility to promote local measures in their communities, which they can fully fund themselves.
Councillor Humby explained: “Against a backdrop of continued cuts to funding from Government, we’ve had to look at how we can make the best use of the resources we have, while at the same time continuing to place safety as our highest priority. Therefore, we have prioritised County Council resources on road safety education and safety measures where we have evidence that they will reduce casualties.
“This focus has historically served Hampshire well, and we have seen a steady decline in the numbers of people killed or seriously injured on the county’s roads over the last decade. However we have, in recent years, broadened our approach to include traffic management measures requested by the community, and in the last couple of years, the downward trend on road casualties nationally, and in Hampshire, has begun to reverse. As a result, with fewer resources and a growing number of requests for traffic calming and traffic management schemes from communities, we’ve had to review our policy to ensure we return to a sharper focus on road safety through our casualty reduction programme.
“Nevertheless, I completely understand that local communities value traffic calming and traffic management measures in towns and villages across Hampshire. Therefore, where a scheme is not prioritised by the County Council on proven safety grounds, we have put in place a system for town and parish councils, and local residents’ groups, to fund some straightforward local traffic management enhancements themselves, which the County Council will help to develop and implement on their behalf.
“This will give town and parish councils the opportunity to promote what they believe is right for their communities, and it is in line with what Hampshire residents told us in our public consultation last year, about how we need to be prioritising our own spending.”
Traffic management enhancements Town and Parish, District and Borough Councils, and community groups may wish to consider in their local communities include:
Enhanced village place name signs
Traditional finger post signing
Sign de-clutter works
Vehicle activated speed limit reminder signs
Minor signs and carriageway lining alterations
Bollards to prevent footway overrun
Informal crossing points for pedestrians
Last year, when the County Council consulted with residents on options for savings to meet a funding gap of £98 million, resulting from cuts in Government funding, one of residents’ preferred proposals was to significantly reduce work on those traffic management schemes that are not led by safety or legal requirements.
This new policy prioritises investigation where there are currently accidents resulting in injury, so that the limited funding available can be targeted to tackle the causes, as there is evidence to show this will have the most impact in reducing casualties on the roads. All proposals from local councils and community groups will be subject to assessment in order that any new measures are consistent with those implemented by Hampshire County Council across Hampshire. Local councils are asked to contact their local county councillor, in the first instance, to discuss and progress proposals.