Northants County Council makes cuts to road safety budget

Cuts have been made to the county council's road safety budget
Cuts have been made to the county council's road safety budget

The road safety budget has been a casualty of Northamptonshire County Council’s multi-million pound savings agenda as it has been cut back by a quarter this year.

Northamptonshire County Council has cut back its road safety budget from £518,000 to £388,000 and has reduced the team with responsibility for preventing road collisions from seven to five.

It will be doing less work with schools and reducing the amount of road engineering projects.

The council has a responsibility under Section 39 of the 1988 Road Traffic Act to carry studies into collisions on the county’s road network and to provide education and engineering solutions to reduce collisions.

NCC has responsibility for 95 per cent of the county’s roads with the other five per cent part of the busy strategic road network managed by Highways England.

NCC says in 2017 it helped reduce the total number of road casualties by almost 16 per cent to 1,151 from 1,367 in 2016.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said: “Road safety remains a priority for the council, with over £388,000 spent on initiatives across the county in 2018/19.

“The council faces a well-documented challenge as it tries to balance the demand and expectations for council services against a backdrop of reduced budgets and a budget deficit that requires us to find up to £70m of efficiencies.

“As part of this, a selection of road engineering schemes, publicity activity and work with schools have been reviewed.

“The council continues to offer a range of highly effective road safety education, training and engineering schemes to prevent collisions.”

The five staff who remain in post include an analyst and data input officer.

The reduction in the amount of cash it puts towards road safety has come about because of the county council’s dire financial situation which sees it as the poorest county council in the country.

It has no reserves left and last year did not balance its books, instead overspending by £35m.

More cuts are due to be announced next month (October) as the county authority has to make £60m worth of savings by April next year.

In 2017 there were 44 road deaths in Northamptonshire according to figures from Northamptonshire Police.

This compares to 26 the year before and 32 in 2015.