An issues paper prepared by the Opposition Group is attached for Council to consider.
The Council rules relating to Opposition Business are also attached for information.
Councillor Laban introduced the issues paper, prepared by the Opposition Group.
1. Issues highlighted by Councillor Laban were as follows:
· Racing on the A10 had been causing distress for a long time despite efforts on all sides to improve the situation.
· The wards abutting the A10 and further afield were disturbed by the noise and affected by the increased emissions.
· It was a key issue for residents, raised on the doorstep and as shown by comments on social media forums and had also been discussed on BBC London.
· Transport for London were aware of the issue and questions had been asked of the Mayor of London.
· Cameras monitoring average speeds which could help solve the problem had been promised in 2015, but had not materialised.
· Detective Superintendent Andy Cox and his police team had helped to alleviate the problem, but this was only a temporary solution. A permanent solution was needed.
· In Hertfordshire, further up the A10, average speed cameras had been installed and this had reduced racing.
· Lives were being put in danger and quality of life disturbed.
· Councillor Laban asked Council to agree the recommendations in the report.
2. Councillor Caliskan, the Leader of the Council, responded on behalf of the Majority Group highlighting:
· Welcoming of the opportunity to discuss this important issue, where safety was paramount.
· Before 2015 there had been 60 slight, 1 serious and no fatal accidents. Since, there had been 11 serious and 2 fatal accidents, a marked increase. Members were right to be concerned.
· Acknowledgement that the current police operation, while welcome, was a temporary solution and that a permanent solution was needed.
· The Government had overseen a cut of 30,000 police officers in London and a £6 million cut in police budgets. This was unsustainable.
· The problem with the Opposition recommendations was that they gave no suggestion as to how the cameras were to be funded. The Government had decimated funding in London and cut the Transport for London operational grant, which now received £1 billion less every year. This meant that they were forced to ration resources and were reviewing the criteria for safety cameras.
· The Leader had written to the Mayor of London, Transport for London and to Heidi Alexander (Deputy Mayor of London) to raise the issue and had offered a contribution from the Council towards the cost of installing cameras.
· She had also written to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport asking for additional funding, which he had refused to provide.
· She felt that it was misleading to state that all transport funding had been devolved, as any fines collected were returned to the treasury. She felt that this money should be spent on safety measures.
· The Leader invited them to write to the Secretary of State with her to ask him to invest income from fines in road safety measures. This could save lives.
3. Other issues highlighted during the debate were as follows:
a. The need highlighted by the members of the Opposition Group:
· To recognise the issue as non-party political and to acknowledge the enforcement work being done by Andy Cox and his team. In May 2015 there had been 5 serious injuries and I fatality, in 2018 5 serious injuries but in 2019, thanks to Andy Cox, none.
· To acknowledge the concern that it took the Mayor of London 3 months to respond to the Leader’s letter.
· As part of their operations, the police team had also found many other criminal offences including driving without tax and insurance and drunk driving.
· The view that many local residents’ lives had been blighted by poor behaviour on the roads and that installing cameras could help prevent this.
· Compliments to the Leader for the areas of commonality. The problem needed to be addressed and pressure maintained to find a solution.
b. The need highlighted by members of the Majority Group:
· To recognise that the removal of the old-style cameras in 2015 had led to an increase in fatal and serious accidents.
· That the Council was working with the police on finding a solution to the lack of funding for average speed cameras.
· To acknowledge that if there were 30,000 fewer police officers and less funding, this was bound to lead to a lower conviction rate. Convictions had dropped by two thirds.
· To recognise the impact on the residents of Southbury Ward including that a young woman had died, that 127 vehicles had been seized and 165 caught speeding.
· That we could not expect the police to continue their operation indefinitely. A permanent solution was needed.
During the discussion Councillor Ergin Erbil moved and Councillor Barnes seconded a proposal to extend the time spent on this item by 15 minutes.
This was agreed after a vote with the following result:
4. At the end of the debate Councillor Laban summed up on behalf of the Opposition Group as follows:
Councillor Laban was pleased that sentiments were shared and hoped that members would agree the recommendations in the Opposition Business Paper and would be happy to sign a joint letter with the Leader.
5. Councillor Caliskan then summed up on behalf of the majority group responding to the recommendations in the Opposition Priority Business Paper:
Councillor Caliskan felt that the recommendations were sensible, that multi agency actions were needed and she was heartened by the support from the Opposition on this issue. She felt that money raised through speeding fines should be used to address the problem.
After the debate, the Leader’s response to the Conservative Opposition Business paper, was agreed unanimously, without a vote.
AGREED the Leader’s response in support of the following recommendations from the Opposition Business Paper:
1. For the Leaders of both groups to write a joint letter to the Mayor and ask for the following:
· To commit to placing average speed cameras on the A10 Great Cambridge Road.
· Until cameras are installed, request that the police presence (Operation Vision Zero) remains fully funded to combat speeding/ racing at the known prevalent times when operationally appropriate.
2. Council to lead on arranging a multi-agency meeting(s) as required with key stakeholders including Transport for London (TfL), Police and Retail Parks to ensure a coordinated response to tackling the problem.
3. That the Council communications team actively work with the Police to raise awareness in the community of the Vision Zero strategy, new Dashcam enforcement process and dangers of speeding.
4. Council to conduct a review of how many times the PSPO power has been implemented, its effectiveness and if it can be deployed better in tackling large gatherings on the retail parks.