A leading safety charity has called on ministers to set safety goals for the proposed major road network (MRN) of local authority roads and for over £500m to be spent across Great Britain to improve high risk routes.
A new report from the Road Safety Foundation (RSF) and Ageas Insurance said these were ‘two clear actions’ where government can take an immediate lead to reduce the number of fatal and serious crashes, as well as delivering high returns to society.
The report, How Safe Are You on Britain’s Main Road Networks? finds that while the proposed MRN carries a third of the traffic of Highways England’s strategic road network (SRN) and is only slightly longer, there were more fatal crashes on it in 2017 than on the SRN.
It argues that the UK Government must set disciplined safety goals for the MRN in line with those for the SRN.
The report also calls on governments across Great Britain to release new funding totalling £532m, including an immediate allocation through the successful Safer Roads Fund.
RSF acting executive director Kate Fuller said: ‘Our main road networks need to be safe. So much of our travel is on these intensely used networks that any flaw in their in-built safety means tragedy sooner rather than later.
‘Years of work in Scotland, coupled with widely adopted formal casualty reduction targets is delivering results, and Scotland’s main road network is now safer than England’s and significantly safer than that of Wales.
‘For England to achieve similar results, the newly defined major road network – with more than four times as much risk as Highways England’s network – needs disciplined safety goals; and Government must release new funding from the successful Safer Roads Fund to address the 75 persistently higher risk roads.’
The report calls for £117m immediately to prevent 3,450 fatal and serious injuries over the next 20 years. This would mean £109m in England, £6m in Scotland and £1m in Wales.