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.

Latest figures from RoadPeace (the charity for victims of road crime) shows that the number of traffic police outside London has been nearly cut in half since austerity started in 2010. London remains exceptional due to additional funding from Transport for London which began during my time as Ken Livingstone’s Road Safety Ambassador. London remains far from perfect, but Greens have made a small difference.

A RoadPeace report in 2016 found that cuts to traffic police resulted in declining levels of enforcement and prosecution of crimes like drink driving, driving without a licence and a failure to stop. Whilst there had been more camera-based enforcement of speeding, any prosecution involving an actual officer on the road had gone down.

The latest figures from 2017 show that hit and runs involving a death or injury are just over 40 a day. I believe that there should be an automatic life time driving ban for anyone failing to stop when someone has been injured as the result of a road collision and will be lobbying the Government on this.

Total casaulties hit and runs 14,571 in 2017, which is around 40 a day

Total Pedestrian KSIs 6628 in 2017, of which 829 were hit and runs. 12.5%

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’”

Crowdfunder to support Jenny’s work

Please support our work

Unlike MPs, who receive state funding, members of the House of Lords don’t receive any financial support to employ staff or fund office costs.

As the only Green in the House of Lords, covering as many issues as I can, I need staff to help me with research and press work. I have a small, part time team (equivalent to one full time person) who are paid for from donations from people like you. Continue reading “Crowdfunder to support Jenny’s work”

Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill launch

July 5th is the 62nd anniversary of the first Clean Air Act becoming law

Local people and communities around the country would be able to take legal action to defend their right to clean air if the Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill I introduced today became law. This week’s air pollution episode throughout England and Wales illustrates how widespread the legal actions could become, as people seek to get corporations to change their behaviour and to force councils and government bodies to reduce pollution. Continue reading “Clean Air (Human Rights) Bill launch”

You can’t have clean air and build the Silvertown Tunnel

The decision by the government to support the Mayor of London’s new road tunnel under the Thames is a blow to the thousands of people who will be impacted by the pollution it generates.  New roads create new traffic and big new roads like this create a lot of new traffic. Successive Mayor’s have failed to deal with air pollution, this new road will make things worse. Continue reading “You can’t have clean air and build the Silvertown Tunnel”

Pay as you go driving

Today, I chaired a national seminar on ‘Developing England’s Road Network’, which gave me a brief opportunity to mention road pricing, based on a report on ‘Pay as you go driving in London’ which the Greens on the London Assembly commissioned in 2011. Two of the country’s leading experts on transport recommended that London take advantage of new technologies like smart phones and GPS in order to charge for the use of the roads. It is more than possible to design a system that discourages traffic from using congested and polluted roads, or travelling on those roads at certain times of day.

The report adopted five key ingredients:
* A policy that reduces traffic volume to an economically efficient level
* A policy that meets with a degree of public approval
* A policy that has been shown to deliver results
* A policy that is widely seen as fair
* A policy that delivers a revenue stream that can be applied to all that needs to
be done to improve walk, cycle, public transport and the built environment
that supports these alternatives to the car.

Pay as you go driving is needed to sort out pollution and congestion. Most experts would welcome it, but we need politicians who have the counrage to take on the motoring lobby and deliver it.

Fewer traffic-police, fewer breath tests

The number of drivers being breathalysed has declined significantly since austerity began in 2010. The number of drivers being tested has dropped from 736,846 in 2010 to 463,319 last year. Overstretched traffic police are letting many drivers get away with drink driving, despite the obvious risks to people’s safety. Continue reading “Fewer traffic-police, fewer breath tests”

2016 was a horrendous year for road casualties

The latest government figures on road casualties confirm the link between austerity and increased danger on the roads. The link was outlined in a report by RoadPeace in May this year. Today’s figures show that the number of people who were killed or seriously injured (KSI) on the roads in 2016 has risen. The Government has caveated the rise in serious injuries by saying that the police under-reported such injuries in previous years and suggest that the number remains virtually unchanged. However, the flat-lining of KSI figures since 2010 contrasts with a 16% decline in the 5 years prior to austerity starting in 2010 and far bigger declines in the years before that. Continue reading “2016 was a horrendous year for road casualties”