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Rise in deaths and serious injuries on Norfolk's roads sparks calls to tackle tragic toll

A rise in the number of people killed or seriously injured on Norfolk's roads has prompted concern at Norfolk County Council. Picture: Chris Bishop

A rise in the number of people killed or seriously injured on Norfolk's roads has prompted concern at Norfolk County Council. Picture: Chris Bishop

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The rise in the number of people killed or seriously injured in crashes on Norfolk's roads has led to calls for more urgency to tackle the tragic toll.

Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEYSteve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at Norfolk County Council. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

But bosses at Norfolk County Council have insisted they are taking action, despite opposition councillors questioning the methods being used to reduce casualties.

This year has seen fatal crashes in Wiggenhall St Germans, Costessey, Attleborough and Scarning.

The county council’s latest figures, from October 2017 to October 2018, there were 459 people killed or seriously injured in those 12 months.

The council had, in 2010, set a target to reduce casualties to 306 by December last year and Steve Morphew, leader of the Labour group at County Hall, said he feared that would not be achieved.

Council figures, which were presented to members of the council’s policy and resources committee on Monday, show that, for each road crash prevented, it saves £1.8m and for each serious casualty prevented just over £200,000 is saved.

And Mr Morphew said: “It seems to me there’s a quick investment to be made, but I see nothing in here [the report] to suggest there’s a sense of urgency to do something about that.”

The council last year conceded its initiatives around road safety had not yielded the results hoped, so was switching to a new way of working - known as Safe Systems.

The new approach will look at a wider way of preventing crashes, rather than the current focus which tends to be on trying to influence driver behaviour.

It will consider factors, such as the state of roads, vehicles, speed and the way roads are used - although no extra money is available.

Tom McCabe, the council’s executive director of community and environmental services, said; “There certainly is a sense of urgency. Our communities committee has been grappling with this issue.

“The biggest single change is the committee agreeing the Safe Systems approach, which means, rather than looking just at driver behaviour, we look at all the issues.”

Martin Wilby, chairman of the council’s environment, development and transport committee, said the authority was also making roads safer, citing recent work at Hales roundabout and on the A149.

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