Dying for capital spending: Local road safety on the ropes

27/11/2018
Dominic Browne

The head of the Road Safety Foundation (RSF) has raised concerns about the state of local road safety engineering in the UK, suggesting the necessary skills and finance are simply dying out.

Dr Suzy Charman (pictured), executive director of the RSF, told the Road Safety Markings Association's annual conference that the situation had become critical in local government.

Fresh from the success of the £100m Safer Roads Fund (SRF) to tackle 48 stretches of dangerous road, Dr Charman outlined how much of a breakthrough the cash was.

'A lot of the local authorities told us they had no capital to spend on road safety and even the larger counties would have £1m to £1.5m to spend a year. These are very small amounts when it comes to road safety.

'We came along with the Safer Roads Fund cash and said, "you have £2m to spend on just one road", so it was a real game-changer, and really important to keep those road safety engineering skills alive.'

Roads targeted by the fund could be up to 50 times more dangerous than other routes.

The £100m cash pot was originally slated as £175m but was scaled back, with the remaining £75m unanswered for. The cash has been allocated and will be spent by March 2021.

'We estimate 1,450 lives and serious injuries will be saved over 20 years [because of the SRF] with a societal benefit of £550m. When you factor in maintenance and refreshment it has a benefit cost ratio for the whole portfolio of 4.4. This is much higher than HS2's [estimated at around 2.27 by government].'

Road safety improvements have stalled in the UK, in part due to the reduction in financing and skills in local government, meaning the international target of halving road deaths by the end of the decade is set to be missed. 

Dr Charman told the RSMA: 'We have done well since the 1970s. road death numbers dropped off fairly swiftly. We have had two plateaus - one in the late 90s and most recently since around 2010/2011.

'That is in the context of international endeavours and sustainable development goals that are trying to see road deaths reduce by half within a decade. Really we should be trying to reduce deaths by half since 2010. We are not going to get there we are not going to get even close to there.

'Our calculations show by not halving deaths, we have lost an extra 2,500 people to road traffic crashes. An astonishing number just because we have not been tracking what we should have been.'

Highways jobs

Waste Projects Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£29,738 - £36,036 depending on skills
Do you have skills and experience relevant to local authorities, waste management and/or managing projects? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Senior Environmental Health Officer (Environmental Protection)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£33,799 - £35,934
This role is in the Pollution and Noise Control team, leading the Majors and Project Support team... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Project/Programme Manager (Construction) - 4 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£42,683 - £44,632
This is an exciting and challenging time and we want to expand our team to manage and deliver construction related projects, to achieve... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Community Environmental Support Officer x 5 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
You will work as part of a team tackling personal, nuisance and environmental anti-social behaviour to improve the quality of life for... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Environmental Health Officers within Environmental Protection, Health and Safety and Food Safety

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£30,507 - £32,878
We expect candidates to have expertise or qualifications in one or more of the relevant areas of Air Quality, Acoustics and/or Contaminated Land. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Assistant Director

Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council
£92,826 - £111,231
This is an ideal opportunity for an expert waste management professional to make a real impact and to lead the service to outstanding. Fulham, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council

Environmental Health Officer and Grad EHO – Private Sector Housing with benefits*

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £42,490
Exciting opportunity for a highly organised and enthusiastic Environment Health Officer or a newly qualified graduate working towards... Camden, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Camden London Borough Council

Director of Inclusive Growth and Public Sector Reform

West Midlands Combined Authority
£110,000
The role requires someone with a talent for innovation and a passion for designing and implementing public services. West Midlands Region
Recruiter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Vehicle Technician x3

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
All Candidates must hold a clean category C driving licence (CPC not required). Sandwell, West Midlands
Recruiter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938.0 per annum
Primary locations will include Clacton and Harlow only. Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part tim England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recruiter: Essex County Council

Corporate Director of Neighbourhoods and Climate Change

Durham County Council
£148,583
You will manage a range of front-line services including bins and waste, transport, environmental health, technical services, partnerships and... Durham (County)
Recruiter: Durham County Council

Tenancy Enforcement Assistant

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22.377 - £23.607
Looking for individuals who have an interest in the environment with good customer service skills, flexible approach to work and a good team player. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Head of Programme Management Office

Manchester City Council
£60,857 to £65,865
As the Head of PMO, you will define and maintain standards for project management within the Highways Service. Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recruiter: Manchester City Council

Highways Development Specialist

Manchester City Council
£60,857 to £65,865
Seeking a highly capable strategic leader to join the team to develop our strategic pipeline of works and financial model. Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recruiter: Manchester City Council

Civil Engineering Technician Apprentice

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£214 per week
Are you looking to gain vital work experience as an Apprentice? London (Greater)
Recruiter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Assistant Planner/Planner

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £32,878
The ideal candidate will already have... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recruiter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Engineer

Liverpool City Council
£37,849 - £42,683
The successful candidate will... Liverpool, Merseyside
Recruiter: Liverpool City Council

Environmental Health Officer (Food, Health & Safety) & Environmental Health Technical Officer

Dacorum Borough Council
£24,710 to £39,034
You will be highly motivated and be expected to deliver against a challenging work plan. London (Greater)
Recruiter: Dacorum Borough Council

Director of Public Health

Worcestershire County Council
Competitive Salary
We’ll look to you to take responsibility for the high-calibre delivery of... Worcestershire
Recruiter: Worcestershire County Council

Street Cleansing Operative Driver (Large Goods Vehicles)

Redbridge London Borough Council
£22,377 to £23,607
We are looking to recruit staff for both our day service and evening service. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recruiter: Redbridge London Borough Council

Highways on Fridays

Register now!

Latest Issue

latest magazine issue
  • Highways England at Westminster
  • Traffex Scotland and Bridges Scotland guide
  • Highways Awards winners
View the latest issue

Latest Video