I’ve been getting some emails from local residents who are concerned about a threat to local lollipop people – I think as a result of this Living Streets campaign (an organisation I would normally support – indeed, I’d be quite keen to get a local branch going here!).
This has come as a bit of surprise, since a combination of campaigning by local people, hard work by local school governors, teachers and council officers and pressure from local councillors has just helped us get two more locally – one in Cheriton Road and one in Stockbridge Road. I was chatting to the newly appointed lollipop man in Stockbridge Road only two days ago!
I would certainly be strongly opposed to any cut back in the service if I thought there was a risk to it. I was seriously injured as a child cyclist in 1976 after being knocked down by a truck. Road safety is a subject I feel very strongly about.
To provide reassurance, I’ve just received the following briefing from Stuart Jarvis, Hampshire’s Director of Economy, Transport and the Environment:
The Hampshire County Council School Crossing Patrol budget has been maintained over the last five year period, it remains the policy and guidance of Hampshire County Council to provide School Crossing Patrols for Primary, Infant and Junior Schools where they meet the national criteria (Road Safety GB).
The Road Safety budgets over the last five years are:
2009/10 2010/11 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 Road Safety Education (includes bikeability funding) £737k £744k £968k £869k £969k School Crossing Patrols (allocated staffing budget unchanged) £1,132k £1,210k £1,253k £1,212k £1,122k
Other counties who attend the South East Regional meetings for School Crossing Patrols have the following site numbers of patrol sites:
Hampshire 270 Surrey 87 Dorset 56 Wiltshire 40 Buckinghamshire 70
Hampshire’s killed and serious injury (KSI) child casualty statistics for the last five year period:These statistics are all KSI child casualties not just at school times (this figure is very low). 2012 saw a fall in child casualties and the lowest child pedestrian casualties since 2009. There is no evidence that Hampshire is following the statistic quoted, “63% rise over a year in the number of children killed and seriously injured whilst walking to or from school”. The 67% reduction in road safety budgets claim is equally wrong in as far as it relates to Hampshire where the budget has risen.
2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Pedestrians 21 27 27 33 24 Cycle 11 16 14 13 14 Vehicle Passengers 14 11 10 5 5
There is still more to do – both to reduce casualties and to make parents feel that it’s safe for their children to walk, cycle or scoot to school (or anywhere else for that matter!) – but, for the time being at least, we don’t need to worry about cuts to the school lollipop service.