Policy and Politics: Question Time - Hester Brown, Press officer, Living Streets

How does the Road Safety Bill fit in with your Walk to School campaign?

Parents want to give their children a healthy lifestyle but often they fear road danger. A Bill that encourages responsible driving along walking routes will give parents the confidence that th eir child will be safe.

There are two ways to make streets safer: one is to keep traffic separate from people, with barriers, subways and footbridges. But that leads to faster speeds, more crashes and a horrible environment for people walking and cycling. The other way is to slow traffic speeds down on community streets and to make them attractive to walk along and live in.

What is your position on this Bill?

We want to make sure that the penalties for speeding in built-up areas and villages are not reduced. The Bill allows the option of dropping the penalty for speeding in a 30mph limit from three to two points and a lower fine. What we are saying is: vary the penalties upwards, but don't give the wrong message by relaxing the rules.

We are also keen to see the Government make 20mph the default speed limit in community streets in built-up areas, and 30mph through villages.

If traffic moved at 20mph you would see a transformation of lifestyles.

It is the one thing that will do most to reduce casualties and make streets the centre of community life.

Do you lobby MPs, and how?

Yes, in meetings at Westminster and through members meeting their MPs in their constituencies. We run our own campaigns, as well as other campaigns run through large coalitions. For example, the campaign to amend the Road Safety Bill is being fought by the Safer Streets Coalition, of which Living Streets is a member.

Who supports you in Parliament?

Lots of MPs and Lords care about road safety. Some of the more active ones are Rob Marris, David Kidney, Mark Lazarowicz, and John Thurso in the Commons and Ros Scott, Tony Berkeley, Jan Simon and Earl Attlee in the Lords.

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