North East MP Steve Barclay has been awarded a Road Safety Parliamentarian of the Month Award by national charity Brake and Direct Line for his successful campaign to reactivate a speed camera and install signs to prevent further casualties on a treacherous stretch of the A47. Steve has also secured progress on a second campaign to install a barrier between a waterway and stretch of road in his constituency where a young girl was killed.
In April 2011, after nine crashes in three years and five deaths in six years, Steve Barclay launched a campaign with local residents and Councillor John Fish calling for a speed camera to be reactivated and warning signs installed.
The Highways Agency agreed to install the signs, but said the £30k cost would have to be met by the Parish Council because the number of crashes on the road did not meet their stipulated level. At this point they declined to switch the speed camera back on.
Steve then wrote to road safety minister Mike Penning MP to say how disappointed he was that the Highways Agency had not agreed to pay for the signs or reactive the camera.
In September, Steve met David Gingell, Highways Agency divisional director. At the meeting Mr Gingell confirmed that the agency would reactivate the speed camera.
The campaign continued when in March 2012, Steve met again with Mr Gingell and separately with road safety minister Mike Penning MP to discuss the issue of the road signs on the A47. A month later, Mike Penning MP contacted Steve to say the government had instructed the Highways Agency to pay for the signs and reconfirmed the speed camera would be switched back on.
Steve and the local campaigners welcomed this news wholeheartedly as it will help to make this road safer for local residents and drivers using the road. Steve has pledged to continue to monitor the situation closely in case any further action is needed to improve safety on the road.
Steve also secured a visit from road safety minister Mike Penning on a separate road safety issue. The waterway adjacent to Bedlam Bridge is in need of barriers to prevent vehicles running into the canal should they skid, as happened to 9 year old Charlotte Walker who was tragically killed. Having identified this in his maiden speech, Steve persuaded the road safety minister to visit and see the site first hand. As a result of the visit and the campaigning of Graham Chapple and others alongside Steve, the County Council has now undertaken soil testing as a first step to installing the much needed barriers.
Julie Townsend, Brake deputy chief executive, said: “Brake applauds the persistence of Steve Barclay MP, Councillor John Fish and the community in pursuing the reinstatement of a speed camera and new signs. Their hard work has paid off and local residents will be safer because of it. This is a stretch of road that has seen too many needless casualties over the years, causing terrible devastation to families. We hope these measures will mean no more lives are lost in this way. Local drivers can also play their part to prevent more tragedies by pledging to stay within speed limits, and slow right down for bends, junctions and around homes and schools.”
Steve Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, said: “I am honoured to receive the recognition from Brake. There is often a sense within rural communities that their voice is not heard and the initial response from the Highways Agency struck me as dismissive. It cannot be right that two simple road signs would cost 30k or that a speed camera already in place could not be switched on in response to local concerns. It is pleasing to see the community work together to have a Minister listened and act on their concerns. I hope this stretch of road will be a little safer as a result.”