In recent weeks both Cllr Ashley Evans and I have received a large increase in complaints about speeding traffic. This isn’t just a case of people driving a few miles of the speed limit, but some seriously dangerous and reckless driving with people racing around Halifax in some very fast cars. It’s clear that a state of lawlessness has existed on our roads with a minimum amount of Police enforcement. We have raised this concerns both with the local Police, and the Police and Crime Commissioner for West Yorkshire Mark Burns-Williamson. You can read the letter I sent to Mr Burns-Williamson on the subject here (PCC Letter). Other Councillors have also been raising this issue, and it was raised at our last full Council meeting.
The good news is that Colin Skeath the Halifax Neighbourhood Inspector has emailed Councillors to inform us that the Police have put operation Hawmill in action. I’ve posted up a section of Colin’s email so it can be explained in his own words:
As you know poor driving, speeding and anti-social use of the roads is one of our biggest concerns in the community. I am sure that you, like me, will have many complaints around this issue and recognise the dangers of poor driving and the need for us to act.
In response I have implemented Operation Hawmill which involves the deployment of a dedicated Road Traffic Officer in a high powered car (SRANS) in company with an NPT officer. This deployment is on overtime and is over and above normal policing.
Areas that will be targeted have been selected in relation to the area where we receive most complaints. They include:-Warley, Park, Town Centre / Boothtown, Skircoat
The operation has been running for two days and so far we have issued 16 endorsable fixed penalty tickets and seized two expensive cars.
Normal deployment of the Pro Lazer and Sid will continue along with various partnership road safety activities.
This operation is good news. However we are told the long term funding for such an operation is not in place. Cllr Evans and I will be campaigning for a continuation of a dedicated traffic officer for Calderdale, one that can also then be deployed in other areas across the Borough that have experienced problems. Give then cost to taxpayers when there is a serious accident (let alone the human tragedy involved) we think spending money on policing like this is a wise use of public funds.
Last year I managed to get the central line markings up at Woodersfield and Moor End Rd widened. Along with the pedestrian island this was meant to form part of a traffic calming scheme to slow down speeding traffic in the area. The other part of the scheme involved changing the road markings around the corner, to try and stop people taking the corner their so quickly. As residents will know there has been a fatal accident on that corner, and several residents have had their cars damaged. I would love to be able to put a speed camera up there, but despite what some people promise it simply isn’t possible for this to be done until government changes the national guidelines about where they can be placed. Stupidly at the moment you have to wait for their to be a certain number of accidents before you can place one.
In the meantime i’ve been badgering the Highways department about getting the rest of the scheme finished. I emailed them on 28th February and have only today finally got a reply! The extra markings won’t solve the problem, but they will hopefully be an improvement.
Further to your e mail to member highway enquiries dated the 28th Feb 2015:
The lining in question was ordered in October 2014, unfortunately works have been delayed due to resource issues and weather conditions. This issue has been raised with our Contractor again today and they have been instructed that this should be treated as a priority, it is not possible however to give an exact timescale as these works are weather dependent.
Back in November last year I wrote about problematic speeding around Roils Head and on Paddock Lane. Like many residents I wasn’t sure that the new 20mph zones were working very well or being enforced. In order to collect evidence to confirm or disprove this view I requested that the Council’s Speed Indicator Device (SID) be deployed on Paddock Lane.
SID was deployed on 12th December and we have the results from this deployment. From it we can see that the average speed down hill was 25mph and the average speed uphill was 24mph. This is clearly above the 20mph limit. However last time this road was tested back in 2012 the average speed downhill was 36mph and uphill was 33mph. So although people are still speeding the average speed has been reduced by the implementation of a 20mph zone on the road.
The results will be passed onto the Police, who may decide now to take some enforcement action on the road.
Results of SID on Paddock Lane Dec 14
I’ve been dealing with more complaints of speeding along Roils Head Road & Paddock Lane. It’s frustrating that there are still speeding problems on Paddock Lane as this is now already part of a 20mph zone. It’s really clear though there are a minority of drivers who simply ignore the speed limit, and know they are very unlikely to get caught by the Police which seem unable to tackle the problem. Perhaps it would make sense to change the law so local Council enforcement officers could enforce traffic speeding. After all it can’t be too complicated pointing a radar gun at a car and taking a picture as evidence can it?
Anyway I have requested that the Council’s Speed Indicator Device comes back to collect more evidence that will be passed onto the Police to try and encourage them to enforce the limits. The Speed Indicator Device (SID) should be back on Paddock Lane before Christmas, and then back on Roils Head Road in the new year. In the meantime below you can download the latest data collected on speeding on these streets.
If speeding is also an issue on your street please do get in contact with me and let me know. There is a limited amount I can do about it, but I do keep badgering the Police, and get the indicator device out which acts as a visual reminder to people to slow down.
SID results for Paddock Lane
SID results for Roils Head Rd