Sunday, February 22, 2009

Speaking of local MPs

As I said in the previous post, there's been little support for Jim Cousin's EDM. Perhaps it will come.

However, whilst others are trying to save Tyne & Wear's public transport, Jarrow MP Stephen Hepburn has been busy sniffing out information for accidents on the A1. It's no secret that Hepburn is one of the cheerleaders for dualling the A1 in Northumberland, and his enquiry through Parliamentary questions over accidents and deaths on the A1 looks like a continuation of his campaign of sucking up to the Journal.

Normally, his Parliamentary questions precede one of his regular Gazette propaganda pieces so don't be surprised if one on A1 dualling turns up soon.

Hepburn dimissed the government's own studies as "multi-modal rubbish", so it looks some like barrel scraping is going on to build a case.

Looking at the figures he's been given, it looks like there's nothing for Hepburn to use to justify dualling the A1 in safety terms, unless he takes a creative view to interpreting them. The figures given broadly support the European Road Assessment Program's (EuroRAP) assessment of the A1 as low to medium risk. The A1 doesn't even appear on the last 2006 report of Britain's most dangerous roads.

Here is a quick picture of the Parliamentary road safety stats:

The long term accident trend is downwards, but what I would find disconcerting is the proportionately higher number of deaths to accidents in Northumberland compared to Tyne & Wear, although this may have something to do with emergency services response times and distances to hospitals in rural areas. If an argument was to be had here it would be for an expansion and public funding of the Great North Air Ambulance Service, instead of it having to rely on charitable donations. That I would support.

But on terms of dualling the A1, nothing much here to see.

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