Campaign pays off on road-safety group

Councillor Glen Sanderson on the A697
Councillor Glen Sanderson on the A697

A Northumberland councillor who has long campaigned on speeding has welcomed the news that the local authority has questioned the funding of a road-safety partnership.

Northumberland County Council may stop paying into the Northumbria Safer Roads Initiative (NSRI), a partnership of local councils and the police which deploys speed camera vans in the North East, saving more than £100,000 a year.

Coun Glen Sanderson, ward member for Longhorsley, is delighted as he has been questioning the merits of the NSRI for some time.

He feels that speeding in Northumberland can be far better tackled by closer working with the police to ensure hotspots are targeted.

One of the key roads, in Coun Sanderson’s opinion, is the A697 and the issue will become even more important when work to dual the A1 starts, forcing more traffic onto this route.

A spokeswoman for Northumberland County Council said: “The funding arrangements for the NSRI are currently under review and are still subject to discussion with Northumbria Police and other local authority partners.

“In our view, the funding generated from those motorists caught speeding and who choose to undertake a speed awareness course should be used in part to fund the joint road-safety education and awareness-raising work undertaken by local authorities and the police so that this important work can be placed on a sustainable financial footing during the on-going period of austerity.”

In October 2015, Coun Sanderson said he feared that the A697 was being neglected by the NSRI, adding that there was a growing feeling among residents that easy revenue was dictating the location of mobile cameras, instead of targeting accident hotspots.
Then, a year later,
he hit out at the county council’s lack of influence in the partnership, saying Northumberland does not carry enough clout.

“From the figures that I requested, yet again over the past six months, the A697, one of the UK’s worst rural A-class roads in terms of accidents has been almost ignored while honeypot sites which have absolutely no accident records are targeted,” he said.