Lethbridge primary school will tomorrrow be having a day long tribute to little Tyrese Hannah, the seven year old boy killed on Drove Road in March by a car that mounted the pavement, as he walked his dog alongside his mother.

My son was at one time in the same class as Tyrese. Every day I pass the tragic roadside shrine where family, friends and neighbours have marked the site of their terrible, inconsolable loss. As a parent of a child the same age, who goes to the same school, it is deeply moving, and scary. Obviously our heart goes out to Tyrese’s parents, and it has been a big shock to the whole community.

Every month in the UK there are three children killed on the roads, many more are seriously injured. In 2002 there were 59 fatal car accidents or accidents involving very serious injury for every 100000 people.

In 2005 when I stood for election I looked into this. In just one small area of Swindon, Pinehurst, there are 14 children knocked down by cars every year. About 90 people on average are killed or seriously injured every year in traffic accidents in the Swindon area, and a further 500 are less severely injured in car accidents– mostly these are caused by reckless driving and speeding. In contrast there were just 172 robberies – yet there is a greater fear of robbery than of being involved in a serious car accident.

There is obvious, understandable and necessary concern about paedophiles and child abusers. But the equally grave danger to our children from traffic is treated as if it is a force of nature that we can do nothing about.

So it is truly remarkable that Swindon Borough Council is threatening to remove all speed cameras from the town next year. The conservative council is complaining that it has to pay for the maintenance of the speed cameras but doesn’t see any £1.76m raised in fines from 30,000 drivers caught speeding in the town.

This is a rather dry technical dispute between Swindon Borough Council and the government about funding, because up until April 2007 Local Authorities received the fines income, and this paid for the cameras. Now the fines go to a national consolidated fund, and the councils receive back a grant from the Department of Transport for road safety, which is already in addition too the funding provided by the Local Transport Plan Process.

All of which is a long winded way of saying that on financial grounds, the council are making a big fuss about nothing. The mechanism of funding has changed, but they are not really out of pocket.

It is of course arguable that Speed cameras are not the most effective way of calming traffic, but that doesn’t mean they should be removed, as they can and should be used in parallel with other mechanisms.

What the Tories are doing is playing political football with peoples’ lives. A clear political message needs to be sent out that our high speed culture is irresponsible, wrong and dangerous. Instead the Tories are saying that road safety is a low priority for them.

It is far from irrelevant that Tory Leader of the councilor, Rodney Bluh, is himself a serial offender, who lost his own driving license for three months after gaining 12 points for speeding.



  1. Dave Harrison


    you do write such utter bollocks. The Pinehurst area had all those feckin’ speedhumps put in to stop accidents and they have worked.

    “So it is truly remarkable that Swindon Borough Council is threatening to remove all speed cameras from the town next year.”

    Bollocks again they are looking to use the road safety money on road safety rather than speed cameras.

    I know you socialists can’t allow truth to get in the way of a good story. You are as bad as Anne Snelgrove MP – total waste of space.

  2. andyinswindon


    Calm down. The road accidents in Pinehurst were in the year leading up to 2005. they happened. So yes, as i said in the article other forms of traffic calming are effective – and can be more effective than speeding cameras.

    It is a good thing that traffic calming, spped bumps and chicanes were introduced into Pinehusrt, but it is a shame that loads of children had to be knocked down before anyone tought to inconvenience the motorists, and despite the speed bumps there are still cars going to fast in residential areas.

    The question is what political message is being sent to the motoring public by Swindon BC removing the cameras, and that clearly is that road saftey isn’t that big a deal.

  3. andyinswindon

    And you must be so proud that the Swindon BNP website says: “At last a council implementing BNP policy!”


  5. I will ask you the same question I asked on the Adver site:

    Is there any evidence that the driver who killed Tyrese Hannah was breaking the speed limit?

  6. Hiya Pav

    It is hard to know exactly how he could have left the road and mounted the pavement at that time of day, in what was at the time quite heavy traffic.

    I was actually driving up Drove Road in the opposite direction, and passed the scene of the accident only a few minutes after it happened, and before the ambulance got there.

    I don’t know whether the driver as speeding, or not, but they certainly were not paying attention to the road, whether they were fiddling with their radio, or making a mobile phone call, or whatever.

    But for me the issue is simple, that roads are very dangerous places, cars can be dangerious if they are not driven safely – and it is the responsibility of politicians, and national and local government to promote safe use of roads – and that includes a culture of obeying the speed limit.

  7. charlotte badger

    Whats done is done and whats won is won
    And whats lost is lost and gone forever
    I can only pray for a bright brand new day
    In the town I love so well


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