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More than £150,000 given to community road safety projects in Devon and Cornwall

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Communities across Devon and Cornwall will be able to make their roads safer after successfully bidding for funding from Vision Zero South West’s Call For Ideas initiative.

The project, which aims to help community-led road safety schemes, had initially committed a total funding pot of £100,000.

However, the Call For Ideas yielded so many positive and proactive projects that the Vision Zero board agreed to increase funding to more than £150,000 to allow more schemes to take place.

In total £153,000 will be spent to fund 34 projects across the two counties, including Vehicle Activated Speed signs (subject to agreement with the local highway authorities), new road signs and markings, high visibility neck bands for cattle and ponies and glow in the dark stickers for school children.

As well as this, a further four projects have been adopted into the Vision Zero South West road safety delivery plan, including providing advanced driver courses for drivers under the age of 25 and engagement events for older drivers, cyclists and young drivers – all of whom are vulnerable road user groups in Devon and Cornwall.

Alison Hernandez, Police and Crime Commissioner for Devon, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, is chairman of the Vision Zero South West board as well as the national APCC lead for road safety.

Commissioner Hernandez said: “Every community I visit raises the subject of road safety, which is why I have made it a priority in my new Police and Crime Plan.

“I’m delighted that we’ve been able to fund and support so many projects, led mainly by volunteers committed to saving lives. We know we can only tackle road safety and achieve our target of zero serious collisions by 2040 with the help of our local communities.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm and attention to detail that residents have displayed during this process and I am certain that the projects we’ve been able to progress will make a real difference to the lives of many, many people.”

Councillor Stuart Hughes, vice chairman of Vision Zero South West and Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member Highway Management, said:

“The fact we voted to substantially increase the funding for this initiative demonstrates Vision Zero’s commitment to road safety in Devon and Cornwall.

“I’ve been lucky enough to meet several of the successful applicants and have been blown away by their passion for road safety within their communities. I’m so happy we’ve been able to empower these residents to make the changes they feel are badly needed.”

One of the communities to benefit from funding from the Call For Ideas is the town of Holsworthy in Torridge who submitted a bid for vehicle activated speed signs through their local town council.

Vanessa Saunders, Holsworthy Town Clerk, said: “We’ve been discussing problems on the A3072 for some time and our local community speed watch team confirmed there had been some issues there.

“A lot of people driving into Holsworthy from that direction don’t actually realise they’re coming into the town. They come in from quite a fast road and they suddenly put the brakes on without realising the speed they are travelling at.

“A lot of those roads are used by elderly people and children going to various schools so it’s very important we get them to slow down

“We’re so pleased to receive this funding – it will be put to good use. We will work with Devon County Council to make sure the signs are up and running as soon as possible.”

Another group to be awarded funding is the Milton Abbot Community Road Safety Group who also applied for vehicle activated speed signs.

Chris Stone of the local Community Speed Watch team said: “We became aware, particularly during the lockdown, of excessive speeding through the village and also that children were feeling traumatised by fast, close passing vehicles on their way to school.

“We’ve been looking at how we can provide advanced road safety systems here and an obvious first step was to introduce signs which indicate to the driver how fast they are going and request politely that they slow down.”

On hearing that they had been successful with their funding application, Chris added: “It is great and an enormous support to our efforts in the village.”

For more information visit the Vision Zero South West website.