Agenda item

Road Safety Inquiry

To receive the report in the name of the Director of City Development to inform the Board’s exploration of road safety concerns in Leeds.


Additional information for participants: The Board scheduled two meetings to examine this subject of which this is the second. These papers have been designed to inform the discussion at both of those meetings.



The report of the Director of City Development highlighted the following:


·  An outline of the current approach to reduce the number of casualties on the public highway and thus to support the Best Council Plan.

·  The national and regional strategies to be considered and acknowledged in our road safety plans.

·  The new approach to road safety, Vision Zero and outline the timetable to produce and adopt the strategy and plan.


This was the Board’s second session of the Road Safety Inquiry and the main focus was to hear the views of local road safety campaigners.


The following were in attendance:


-  Gillian McLeod, Transport Development Service Manager

-  Lynsey McGarvey, Principal Transport Planner

-  Nick Hunt, Traffic Engineering Manager

-  Vicki Franks, Safe and Sustainable Travel Team Leader

-  Gary Bartlett, Chief Officer, Highways & Transportation

-  John Scruby, Support & Care After Road Death (SCARD)

-  David Smith, Victim & Witnesses Service Advisor (WYCA)

-  Ian Greenwood, Road Safety Campaigner

-  Paula Knights, Road Safety Campaigner

-  Jill Walshaw, Road Safety Campaigner

-  Superintendent Ed Chesters, West Yorkshire Police Lead on Road Safety

-  Inspector Nick Berry, West Yorkshire Police

-  Paul Jeffrey, Partnership & Innovation Mgr, Casualty Prevention Bureau


The Board was informed that the Transport Strategy had recently been approved by Executive Board.  The aim of Vision Zero was to work collaboratively and innovatively with the target that there would be nobody killed or seriously injured on the roads in Leeds by 2040.  It was a challenging ambition and a different approach would be taken to consider the whole system and process of road safety.  This would include vehicle manufacturers, housing design and people’s behaviour.  A shared approach and responsibility.


The Board heard from Ian Greenwood who explained why he had become involved in campaigning for road safety.  Mr Greenwood had tragically lost his daughter in a road traffic collision caused by reckless drivers who had been racing at speeds in excess of 80 miles per hour.  He spoke about the subsequent devastating consequences caused by road deaths and avoidable crashes.  He also informed the Board of the varying responses he had received from authorities and local leaders.


Mr Greenwood thanked the Board for the opportunity to speak and that he was pleased to see the targets set out in Vision Zero as there was a need to do better in West Yorkshire and Leeds


Further issues highlighted by Mr Greenwood included the following:


  • The Transport Plan was inspirational and it was pleasing to see the recognised need for change and to have a published timetable for action.
  • The need to keep the focus on why the work was important.
  • Most crashes were preventable.
  • Community engagement and people’s knowledge of local issues was crucial.
  • The importance of communication to local people of plans and actions.
  • The need for all agencies to work together in the same direction and the better use of data in improving road safety.
  • The need for leadership and commitment which has helped progression in other cities.
  • Road safety was a public health issue.


Paula Knights addressed the Board.  Paula’s son had been killed travelling in a speeding car with a group of friends which had collided with another vehicle. Paula spoke of the devastating consequences on herself and family.  Since the accident, Paula had worked with Brake, the road safety charity with Year 11 and 12 children in local schools.  She had also been involved in campaigning for Speed Cameras in Horsforth where the accident had happened.  This had included work with Local Councillors and a Social Media campaign.  Jill Walshaw whose son was also killed in the same accident also told the Board of her experiences following the accident.


The Board was reminded of the recently approved Transport Strategy which included Vision Zero and gave the context to move forward.  The Department for Transport had supported the strategy.  Members were reminded of the size of the challenge and the need for every member of society to be involved.


In response to Members comments and questions, the following was discussed:


  • That it should be recommended that an expert panel which includes witnesses from this meeting should inform Vision Zero.
  • The need for proactive community involvement rather than responding to tragic events.
  • The use of speed cameras and other traffic calming schemes could polarise opinion.
  • Previous road safety measures had focussed too much on learning from experience.
  • There was an aim to provide safe mobility for all forms of transport on the roads.
  • Speed cameras were only one tactic that could be used – there was a need for a range of solutions for different settings.
  • More flexibility in how speed cameras were deployed would be welcomed.  Guidance for siting of cameras was restrictive and criteria did not allow a pro-active approach to siting.  There was ongoing work in reviewing the criteria.
  • The use of average speed cameras and how they could reduce speeds over a distance on roads.
  • Use of the Advanced Driving Test and pre-driver training to encourage safer road use.  It was reported that graduated driving licences had worked well in other countries but had been decided against in the UK.
  • Siting of speed cameras needed the input of local Ward Councillors and local people and should form part of the Board’s recommendations.
  • Use of resources – making the best value of existing resources and deploying operations on an intelligence led basis.
  • The policing of road safety to be considered as important as other police issues.
  • Resources for the support of victims.  Funding had been withdrawn from the Ministry of Justice but following lobbying there had been a change and some funding was now available from the Department of Transport. 
  • There had been a proposal in West Yorkshire to create a politically led Vision Zero Board.  It was also proposed to have a Public Health input and input from those directly affected.
  • The role of SCARD which included support and counselling to victims and families; independent advice and support at inquests.  There was an impact not only on families and victims but also friends, colleagues and emergency service workers.
  • Education of young and inexperienced drivers.  It was requested that road safety education be relevant and used appropriate language and delivery methods for the age group it was targeted at.  It was reported that there was a review of all road safety education in Leeds from nursery age to post 16.
  • The need to work with communities and make sure local people are involved and informed.
  • The opportunity to involve Councillors at a local level with Vision Zero and the potential role of Community Committees.
  • Speed camera criteria looked at the number of collisions that included fatalities rather than the number of fatalities.  There was a call for clearer and more relevant data.


The Chair thanked all for their attendance and valuable contributions to the Inquiry.


RESOLVED – That the report and discussion be noted.


Supporting documents: