Norman Baker, MP for Lewes, August/September 2009

aug09Norman Baker, MP for Lewes and Shadow Transport Secretary for the Liberal Democrats.

Norman Baker MP has been campaigning on a number of pedestrian safety issues in his constituency in Lewes, East Sussex. He is pressing his local council for the introduction of variable 20mph speed restrictions around schools in his area and calling for new regulations on sat navs to discourage large lorries driving through unsuitable roads in small village centres like those in his constituency.

Mr Baker has asked the Government to encourage local authorities to implement variable 20mph speed limits around schools by raising a question in parliament on 9 July this year.

Following this he called for East Sussex County Council to introduce 20mph speed limits around two particular schools in his constituency. Mr Baker recommended that the limits should be introduced around Hamsey and Annecy primary schools when children are most likely to be crossing roads on their way to and from school.

Norman Baker commented: “Research has shown that there is an enormous difference to pedestrians between a car travelling at 20 miles per hour compared with one moving at 30 mph. A child is far more likely to survive an impact with a car if it is travelling at 20 mph. If a car is travelling even slightly above a 30mph limit, the chances of survival for the average child become significantly worse.”

As a result of his campaign East Sussex County Council has decided that “the feasibility of introducing a part time limit should be investigated” in regard to Annecy School and that “if a part-time 20mph speed limit is ultimately introduced […] and proves successful, then it could pave the way for other part time speed limits to be introduced in the County”.

Speaking on the issue, Mr Baker said: “I am glad to see that East Sussex County Council is taking seriously the issue of speed limits outside schools”.

Mr Baker has also expressed concerns about the dangers posed by lorries being directed down unsuitable routes by sat navs, which also pose a danger to pedestrians and other road users in his constituency.

In Alfriston, a village in Mr Baker’s constituency, a local campaign group called ‘Save Alfriston for Everyone’ (SAFE) is taking forward the campaign to tackle this problem, which is affecting the village, its pedestrians and damaging property. They organised a village meeting to discuss the problems and rally support.

To help the villagers with their campaign, Mr Baker has called on the Government to immediately review regulations on sat navs to ensure the devices take account of the width and height of large vehicles before choosing a route. He also put pressure on the local council to come up with solutions to the residents’ concerns.

Brake congratulates Norman Baker MP for keeping up the pressure to make the streets of Lewes safer for pedestrians. If you would like information on talking to road safety experts and local officials about a particular road safety measure, for example a lower speed limit or crossing, please visit the Concerned Community pages of Brake’s website.