In a recent council meeting, local leaders strongly urged for immediate changes to speed limits at known accident blackspots. The call for action comes after the sixth fatality on the Kington bypass and growing concerns about road safety.
Coun Terry James, the Liberal Democrat group leader who represents Kington, spoke at the full council meeting on October 13. He expressed frustration over the recent fatality on the A4111 outside the Kington Medical Practice, where a 63-year-old motorcyclist lost his life on September 29. "We have just had a fatality on our [Kington] bypass, the sixth in recent years, and nothing's being done about it," Coun James said. He added that while he managed to get the speed limit reduced to 50 mph, further reduction to 40 mph has been met with resistance and delay.
The responsibility for assessing speed limit proposals lies with the council's public realm contractor, Balfour Beatty, and a third party, ADL. Coun James questioned the priorities of these companies, asking, "Why do we employ a company that is more interested in getting money for itself than in the safety of motorists?" He also mentioned that local residents want the speed limit on the A44 bypass around Kington reduced to 40 mph, but enforcement by police remains a hurdle.
Coun Jonathan Lester, leader of the Conservative-run administration, acknowledged the tragedy and emphasised the need for highway safety measures. He noted his own challenges in enhancing road safety in his Bromyard ward. Coun Philip Price, cabinet member for transport, assured that meetings to discuss these concerns would be arranged.
Leominster North councillor John Stone suggested that council members with wards along the A49 might benefit from meetings with Highways England. This could address issues like the dangerous Salwey junction near Ludlow, known for numerous accidents. Coun Lester agreed, stating, "It’s vital we work with national partners to ensure we get the maximum highway safety."
The council meeting highlighted an urgent need for action, with multiple councillors advocating for immediate changes to improve road safety in Herefordshire.