‘Spend more money’ call after shock road death and injury figures

(From l-r) Pendle Conservatives County Coun. Paul White, Coun. Jennifer Purcell, Coun. Joe Cooney, Coun. Lyle Davy, The Mayor of Pendle Coun. Rosemary Carroll, Andrew Stephenson MP and Coun. Mike Goulthorp who met to discuss road safety concerns in West Craven (s)
(From l-r) Pendle Conservatives County Coun. Paul White, Coun. Jennifer Purcell, Coun. Joe Cooney, Coun. Lyle Davy, The Mayor of Pendle Coun. Rosemary Carroll, Andrew Stephenson MP and Coun. Mike Goulthorp who met to discuss road safety concerns in West Craven (s)
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New figures show that three areas of Pendle have seen the number of people killed or seriously injured on roads double between 2014 and 2015.

The number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads in West Craven, Pendle Central and Nelson South doubled in that time.

The figures, which were requested by County Coun. Paul White from Lancashire County Council, show that you are more likely to be killed or seriously injured on a road in West Craven than in any other area of Pendle.

West Craven and Nelson South’s figures are at the highest in a decade and jumped from seven to 14 and from five to 10, respectively. The latter of those areas has risen from zero in 2013 while Pendle Central has doubled between 2014 and 2015 from four to eight.

Elsewhere in the borough, figures for Brierfield and Nelson North from 2014 and 2015 have shown a slight reduction from nine to eight but Pendle East has halved from 10 to five and Pendle West has dropped from 13 to five.

The total number of people killed or injured in Pendle has hit 50 for the first time since 2007 (58) and is the second highest in a decade.

Conservatives in the borough believe a dramatic cut in road safety spending over the past five years has contributed to the rise.

In 2011, at its peak, figures show the Conservative administration spent £318,493 on road safety in Pendle, inclusive of a 20mph scheme which was rolled out county-wide.

However, the 2015 current figure had dropped to £3,443 under the Labour administration.

County Coun. White said: “These figures are truly shocking. Compared with five years ago, road safety funding in Pendle has reduced by 99%, while the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads has gone up by 28%.

“Road safety should be one of the county’s biggest priorities, but LCC has almost pulled the plug on safety funding it seems.

“I am particularly concerned about the West Craven figures. We’re all a bit shocked by them to be honest. We hadn’t expected it to be the worst and for the number of serious accidents to have doubled in a year is worrying.

“The police and the county council must take action. I don’t know how this hasn’t been picked up before now. It’s clear. Safety spend has plummeted and the number of people killed and injured has risen dramatically.”

Mike Goulthorp, Chairman of Pendle Council’s West Craven Committee, said: “After Paul told us of these figures, we met this morning as a group of councillors with Andrew Stephenson MP too.

“Paul has requested figures from the police on their trends in West Craven for enforcing the speed limit to see whether there’s any correlation there too.

“We are calling on the county council to spend more on road safety in Pendle and we want the police to target action in West Craven.”

The release of the figures comes a fortnight after the Leader of Pendle Conservatives, Coun. Joe Cooney, launched the “See it, Report it” campaign calling on the general public to get actively involved in tackling speeding drivers by submitting their dash cam footage of dangerous drivers.

County Coun. John Fillis. Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for highways, called on the community to help reduce accidents and said an element of complacency in driving may be down to the increase.

He said: “There has been an overall reduction in accidents, however, what we are seeing is a concerning increase in the number of children in 20mph areas involved in accidents and there doesn’t seem to be an excess of the speed element when they are investigated by the police.

“It is true that when you are dealing with such low numbers two or three incidents where somebody is killed or seriously injured is going to increase your percentage figure with a big jump but I’m not going to hide behind that because these accidents are too high and it is how we deal with them.

“I think the 20mph scheme was a good idea and it has improved safety but I don’t think it has yet lived up to expectations bearing in mind the county council spent £6m. on it to get the results.

“I think it is a responsibility of the whole community, not just the police and us, to help bring the number of accidents down right across the county.”