Local MPs, Amber Rudd and Huw Merriman, today responded to a new report by the Road Safety Foundation which cited the A21 from Hurst Green to Hastings as the highest risk road on England’s Strategic Road Network.
The report “Cutting the Cost of Dangerous Roads” which was published yesterday, listed sections of the A21 and the A259 within the top ten persistently high risk roads in England.
Responding immediately to the report, the MPs repeated their longstanding concerns about the dangers of these local roads to the Roads Minister, Jesse Norman MP, in Parliament this week. The Roads Minister has committed to meeting an East Sussex delegation in Parliament comprised of the local MPs, Councillors and interested local stakeholders.
It was also brought to the attention of the Roads Minister that Highways England had recommended a variable speed limit scheme, with cameras, on the A21 back in 2015 but the plans were later withdrawn in favour of looking at other safety measures. As a result of these further delays, the MPs have also asked the Roads Minister to take their concerns up directly with the Chief Executive of Highways England.
A more ambitious suggestion had previously been made to Highways England and relevant local authorities to apply to a multi-billion pound Housing and Infrastructure Fund in order deliver a by-pass around Hurst Green and Little Common. However this was not progressed locally due to the current housing levels being met elsewhere in the area.
Huw said “Once again, I am dismayed but not surprised to find the A21 listed as one of the most dangerous roads in England. The high accident rate on this road has a devastating impact on people’s lives which can never be quantified. This report also highlights the high economic cost of accidents which impacts our local economy, emergency services, NHS and care organisations.
“These statistics cannot be ignored and our village communities along the A21, such as Hurst Green and Whatlington have been waiting far too long for safety improvements to this road. That is why Amber Rudd and I have immediately brought this report to the attention of the Roads Minister with a call for action. I want to see the safety measures that have been talked about since I was elected in 2015 implemented without further delay. However, I also want to see much greater investment on the A21 and A259 to make them trunk roads fit for the 21st century.”
Amber said “I am deeply concerned to see both the A259 and A21 on this list of dangerous roads as both are at their highest level of risk in my constituency. As well as the unacceptably high cost to human life, these are key strategic roads for our area. I am grateful to the Roads Minister for responding so promptly to our concerns and I will be working closely with Huw and key local stakeholders to ensure that these risks are reduced as quickly as possible. Huw and I share a clear ambition to seek further dualling of the A21 and substantial improvements to the A259 to ensure they become safer, and that they can support economic growth and housing needs for the future.”