Telford & Wrekin Council has made a commitment to be anti-car in its EU sustainability plan, formalising what has been unofficial policy for years. Ridiculous speed limits, contraflow bus lanes, poorly maintained roads, speed humps, lack of joined up thinking – all of these characterise Telford & Wrekin Council’s highways department. UKIP councillors recognise and accept the fact that Telford was designed for the car and would make the town driver friendly once again.
Telford & Wrekin Council’s highways department is out of control – some of the borough’s roads wouldn’t look out of place in third world countries such is their state of disrepair yet there always seems to be money for hair-brained schemes designed to baffle and inconvenience motorists.
We would overhaul the highways department, turning it into the most efficient, car-friendly highways department in the country. We would establish an advisory panel made up of local residents to advise the highways department on the reality of driving, cycling and walking in the borough and to inject some common sense into the decision making process. This would also serve to bring to an end the anti-car lobby’s near monopoly on consulting and influencing traffic-related decisions. Telford was designed with car use in mind, the reliance on private car use can’t be reversed without knocking down half the town and rebuilding it so the highways department has a responsibility to make car use as convenient and efficient as possible.
We will bring down the cost of road maintenance by ensuring road repairs are carried out in good time and to a good level of quality. Waiting until minor road damage becomes significant road damage is counter-productive because it costs more to carry out a major repair than it does a minor repair. We would ensure that any repairs carried out to roads in the borough met strict quality guidelines, requiring repairs to last at least as long as the surrounding road surface. We would expect companies who dig up roads to carry out utility works (eg. gas, electric, communications) to sign an agreement agreeing to carry out repairs for free if their own repair doesn’t last at least as long as the surrounding road surface. A large proportion of potholes and worn road surfaces can be attributed to particular types of utility works by sight, it is only right that the company responsible should foot the bill for putting right their sub-standard road repairs.
Telford & Wrekin’s highways department has been exploiting a loophole in the Department of Transport’s guidelines on speed limits to put in place inappropriately low speed limits on perfectly safe roads. In recent years there has been a proliferation of obstructions constructed in the centre of roads consisting of a raised tarmac platform for keep left bollards and a black and white pole. These obstructions aren’t pedestrian refuges and serve no purpose other than to justify reduced speed limits on safety grounds under Department of Transport guidelines. Telford & Wrekin Council often applies to itself for planning permission to construct the obstructions in the road and the change of speed limit at the same time, using the pointless obstructions they intend to build as justification for reducing the speed limit and reducing the speed limit as justification for constructing the obstructions! We would reverse this exploitation of Department of Transport guidelines and restore appropriate speed limits to roads where there is no evidence to support a speed limit reduction on safety grounds.
We would ensure that the highways department manages requests from utility companies to carry out work on roads to allow multiple agencies to use the same maintenance slot to carry out their work rather than different companies digging the road up multiple times in the space of a few months.
We would introduce a park and ride service similar to that operated by Shropshire Council in Shrewsbury but servicing the main district centres (Wellington, Dawley, Madeley and Oakengates) as well as the town centre and Ironbridge Gorge. We would also invite Shropshire Council to work with us to extend a Telford park and ride service to Much Wenlock and Broseley, helping to connect those market towns to the Ironbridge Gorge and Telford. We would envisage the park and ride scheme being operated by Telford & Wrekin Council and there may be scope to bid for standard bus routes once the infrastructure and rolling stock has been established.
UKIP councillors would examine the feasibility of lighting the Silkin Way using solar power where possible and incorporating motion sensors to conserve energy and reduce reliance on mains electricity. We would also work with West Mercia Police to have the Silkin Way patrolled regularly in conjunction with the council’s own park rangers. These measures would improve security and allow the footpath to be more safely used after dark.