Brake and Direct Line have awarded Tessa Munt, MP for Wells the 'Parliamentarian of the Month' award for her commendable actions on behalf of her constituents to uphold necessary road safety measures.
Tessa has been campaigning with local residents in the village of Chilcompton after the removal of a speed camera outside the primary school on the busy B3139 road. Concerned councillors, parents, residents and teachers had contacted Tessa to express how worried and upset they were after the camera was removed by the County Council without any consultation locally. One young pupil sent a lovely letter to Tessa asking her to 'help us cross the road safely.'
Tessa had also been made aware of other groups in her constituency campaigning for better road safety. Another local constituent from Rooksbridge, Pat Ireland, whose husband Gordon was killed by a speeding motorist, had been campaigning against the removal of speed cameras in her village and had already raised £23,000 to pay for the installation of a speed camera on the road where her husband was killed. Tessa supported Pat's campaign and is no stranger to campaigning in support of road safety measures.
In June 2010 the Government announced total transport funding cuts of 25% by the year 2014 including an immediate cut of 40% in the road safety grant for the current year. This funding is used for road safety engineering measures such as pedestrian crossings and road humps as well as for the installation and maintenance of fixed cameras.
Before the cuts to the road safety grant, there had been three cameras on the stretch of road in Chilcompton. The County Council subsequently removed the camera outside the school. Tessa invited Jeff Bunting, the Mendip Area Traffic Engineer at Somerset County Council to join her and some local residents to observe the busy traffic during the school morning rush hour. Tessa has asked the County Council to justify the camera's removal and for the data which informed this decision. She has also contacted Phillip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Transport and Eric Pickles, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government regarding this issue.
Tessa Munt MP for Wells said: ''It simply makes no sense for the Council to remove the camera outside the school where the need is greatest- it's simply wrong. The council has a duty to ensure these children can walk to school safely by providing adequate safety measures. I am putting pressure on Somerset County Council to reverse its decision or provide an alternative and some traffic calming measures. Children are vulnerable road users and we should do all we can to protect them."
Jessica Wigglesworth, Brake's Campaigns assistant said: "Brake would like to congratulate Tessa for her hard work in supporting the constituents in her area to strive for a safer and healthier community. We hope that Tessa will keep up their commendable work in the future."
From June 2011 interim measures were put in place in Chilcompton to help stop speeding near the Village School. Two new ‘wig wag’ signs will also be placed on the approach to St Vigor and St John’s school at the beginning of September 2011. Within two years the villagers will have a zebra crossing near the school and a new signal crossing by the petrol station. This is a fantastic development to a long running campaign! Well done Tessa!