Highway code changes

In 2018, a staggering 540 people were injured or killed every week in Britain. That is the most phenomenal cost in all sorts of ways. It costs the NHS; it costs the emergency services; it costs social services to mop up after these collisions and injuries, some of which of course are life-changing. We have lawless roads, and the reason for that is that road crime is not treated in the same way as regular crime. The problem is that many drivers will pay as much attention to these changes in the Highway Code and the guidelines as Boris Johnson did to the Covid rules. Continue reading “Highway code changes”

Police Bill Report Stage Days 2&3

The last week before the Festive break had two days of Report Stage of the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill. The Lords have tabled hundreds of amendments to the original bill and Jenny spoke to amendments on the confiscation of mobile devices, child abuse sentences, road death sentences, mandatory minimum sentences, IPP sentences and Friday releases. The Report Stage of this bill will continue in the New Year. Continue reading “Police Bill Report Stage Days 2&3”

Police Bill Day 6 of Committee Stage in the Lords – Road danger

At some point in history, it became acceptable for people to be killed by cars—pedestrians and cyclists. Other drivers just became collateral damage for our car-obsessed culture. There seems to be a horrific gap between the penalties for killing someone with your car and killing someone in any other way.

Road safety campaigners ask that we do not use the word “accident”, because that presupposes that it was accidental. It prejudges the situation, and that is clearly not right when something might come to court. They ask instead that we use the words “incident”, “collision” or even “crash”, but not “accident”. There is also an argument for saying that we should not use the words “road safety”, because that is the solution to the problem; the problem itself is “road danger”. We have to get our head around these differences, because it changes the way we perceive such situations.

Continue reading “Police Bill Day 6 of Committee Stage in the Lords – Road danger”

Environment Bill Committee Stage Day 5 – Air Pollution

Air pollution is a national health crisis: it costs us billions every year. It affects the old and the young. Several of us have mentioned Ella Kissi-Debrah, who lived next to a dirty, filthy road and died at nine years old because of her asthma. It is children who will have health problems all their lives because of living near polluted roads. This Bill is an ideal opportunity to fix this problem. We know what the solutions are, and they are here in these amendments.

My amendments seek to create a comprehensive system of targets, monitoring and funding to reduce air pollution levels to World Health Organization guideline levels. It is not possible to end this crisis without significant public spending. The Government must make the money available to local authorities to transform their communities and clean up their air.

Continue reading “Environment Bill Committee Stage Day 5 – Air Pollution”

Lawless roads and motorists getting off lightly

Today, I’m asking a Minister if breaking the law with a car attracts a lighter sentence than if someone does the same in any other area of their life?

Many years ago a police traffic sergeant told me that the best way to murder someone is to do it with a car. A hit and run carries a fairly minimum sentence and even if caught you can always claim that “accidents happen.”

The reality of this was brought home to me in 2014 when a man travelling at 80-88mph drove straight at the traffic officer who stepped out to flag his vehicle down for speeding. The killer made no attempt to stop as he threw PC Duncan into the air ‘like a rag doll’ and left him with fatal injuries. The starting point for murdering a police officer with a knife, or iron bar is 30 years, this driver received an eight and a half year sentence.

Continue reading “Lawless roads and motorists getting off lightly”

Environment Bill: My air pollution amendment

I have worked the issue of air pollution on since 2001. The sources of air pollution are widespread: industry, transport, buildings and agriculture are all major contributors. We have to understand how each of those can be cleaned up and improved, not just for all of us who breathe it in in the cities, but for farmers who also experience a huge amount of pollution in their daily lives.

Air pollution has been found to cause death after a coroner ruled it was a cause of death for Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah. The coroner in Ella’s case said that “there is no safe level for Particulate Matter” in air and recommended a reduction in the national pollution limits to bring them into line with World Health Organization guidelines, which is exactly what my Amendment 29 would do. Continue reading “Environment Bill: My air pollution amendment”

Women ChangeMakers: Women Campaigning on Air Pollution 1pm 8th March

Please join me for a conversation on International Women’s Day

I will be talking with Rosamund Addo-Kissi-Debrah, Co-founder of the Ella Roberta Foundation, Dr Maria Neira, W.H.O Director of Environment, Climate Change and Heath, clean air advocate Penny Hosie and host Andrea Carey Fuller

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Austerity and deaths on lawless roads

If you are a pedestrian who gets killed or suffers serious life changing injuries as a result of being hit by a car, there is more than a one in ten chance that the driver will fail to stop. One of the reasons our roads have become so lawless is the lack of resources put into police investigation and enforcement of road crimes.

Continue reading “Austerity and deaths on lawless roads”

Nearly 2000 air pollution ‘hotspots’

A data audit by Friends of the Earth has revealed the 1,845 sites across the UK that have breached the annual Air Quality Objective for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) levels, which is set to protect health. High levels of NO2 can cause a flare up of asthma or symptoms such as coughing and difficulty breathing. A leading cause of NO2 pollution is emissions from road traffic. Continue reading “Nearly 2000 air pollution ‘hotspots’”