The Group Manager, Prevention introduced the report which appended the Authority’s Annual Road Safety Report 2019-20, containing details of interventions delivered by the Service. He highlighted the achievements of the Service at events throughout the year.
Members’ attention was drawn to the background section of the cover report reminding them that the service was a strategic partner to support local authorities in the fulfilment of their statutory duty under the Road Traffic Act 1988. The Service had been commissioned on behalf of Cheshire East Council to provide road education to local schools, both at primary and high school level, with a contract in place over a 6 year period to the value of £432,000. The money received funded two positions within the Prevention Department to support the delivery of this activity.
The targets of a wide variety of the road safety activities were achieved and some activity had been recognised at a national level. Members’ attention was drawn to the Tyre Safe Winter Driving event which saw the Service receive the Emergency Services Award with the Tyre Safety educational intervention programme which was developed and delivered by the Apprentice Firefighters Cohort.
He asked Members to look at the information contained in the report regarding the commissioned road safety activity for Cheshire East which involved key stage 2 and key stage 4 delivery to just over 150 primary and secondary schools within the Cheshire East area. The contract stipulates that the Service is required to hit a success rate of 90% of completion across those schools. A lot of the delivery year takes place between January and August and the summer holiday period and this year that fell directly in to the Covid period when the Service had to adapt its way of working and a lot of schools were locked down or had a very small numbers of pupils in school. The direct impact was that the payment of £36,000 which covered that six month period could not be collected and this had a direct impact on salary and staffing levels within the department and the two vacant roles of two road safety officers were not filled. However, discussions have now commenced with regard to utilising online platforms to ensure that the Service meets its obligations under the contract and the job description and job role have been finalised for new posts within the department. The proposed new model would be trialled for 12 months and utilise two operational crew managers.
The Fire Bike and Biker Down schemes have proved incredibly popular this year, however, the Service was slightly under target because of the lockdown measures which impacted in early 2020. Biker Down volunteers and Fire Bike riders subsequently undertook support in the community by assisting organisations such as the blood bike service to deliver blood as well as breast milk and tissue sample deliveries across some of the medical establishments in the North West.
Members were asked to noted that the Service’s Road Safety Officer, Andy Gray, was now the Vice Chair of the North West NFCC National Road Safety Group and Cheshire were seen as very proactive in terms of their road safety activities and the Fatal 5 initiative was now viewed as best practice across the NW Region. Lancashire had recently taken on the Fatal 5 message which ties in with the message that Cheshire Fire, Cheshire Police and NW Ambulance promote. Latest figures received from the Cheshire Road Safety group shows that the five year overview of collisions where someone is killed or seriously injured had reduced by 38% across Cheshire between 2015 and 2019 and there continued to be a reduction in the early part of 2020. In 2015 there were 440 collisions and in 2019 this visibly reduced to 273. The number went down from 228 at the end of October 2019 to 207 at the end of October 2020 which shows a 9% reduction. This was expected because of the lockdown measures and was perhaps disappointing with an expectation that the figures might have been even lower. This had been put down to a dramatic increase in the number of cyclists or pedestrians that had sadly been killed or injured in the early part of the 2020 calendar year. Consequently, there is a huge amount of work to be done around education of cyclists and pedestrians.
A Member asked for an update on the law on tyres. The Group Manager, Prevention said that there had been a huge amount of campaign work undertaken, including lobbying for a change in legislation around tyres that were deemed legally acceptable if they met the relevant tread depth requirements, despite the tyres being more than 10 years old. Legislation went through parliament very recently that would put a requirement on owners of HGVs, LGVs and public transport vehicles to change the tyres not just based on the tread depth, but also the life span of the tyre as well. However, this did not apply to cars.
 the Annual Road Safety Report 2018-19 be noted.