Putting the brakes on speeding cars a top priority | Anthony Higginbotham
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The first is speeding cars - an issue that affects all different parts of the borough and one without an easy solution.
Enforcement through things like speed cameras are definitely part of how we tackle the issue, but we also need to get much better at changing behaviour.
Whenever I get contacted by residents flagging particular hot spots I first check with Lancashire County Council and the police to see what level of awareness they have of the problem.
They rely heavily on reporting from members of the public and so I always encourage people to report this online too, which you can do at https://lancsroadsafety.co.uk/submit-concern/.
This has resulted in some good partnership working, with the Police operating their mobile guns or enforcement van on key roads and I was able to go and join them earlier in the year to see how it operates. But it’s clear more needs to be done.
Last week I met with the new Chief Constable for Lancashire Police, as well as the new Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden, to discuss how we can better tackle the issue.
They are reviewing how the Lancashire Road Safety Partnership works to ensure it can be more responsive to reports of speeding and I’ll ensure I keep everyone updated with any progress.
I also get contacted a lot about children having to self-isolate because one member of a class has tested positive for Covid-19.
I know how frustrating this is for parents and children, particularly when it’s the third or fourth time, and have raised this on a number of occasions with Ministers.
This week the Education Secretary announced that the school bubbles policy, which leads to this, will come to an end after Step 4 on July 19th, ready for a more nuanced approach in the
new term from September.
In the short term there will be a greater reliance on testing to avoid this, and I have asked the Education Secretary and Public Health England to look at quicker and simpler tests which would be easier for children to use. This would include, for example, saliva tests.
As we have said for a long time now, we are going to have to learn to live with Covid-19 in a way which continues to protect people as best we can, and that must include ending the disruption on education.
On Tuesday I also spoke to the Home Secretary, to discuss our priorities in Burnley and Padiham and, more specifically, to raise the deep frustration I and many residents have at seeing the increasing number of illegal crossings being made in the English Channel.
This is not only dangerous for those using the crossing, putting their lives at risk, but it also undermines our asylum system and opens up a dangerous hole in our border security.
During the call the Home Secretary updated me on the upcoming legislation that will allow us to tackle this issue properly now we aren’t bound by EU law.
Elements of this have appeared in the media over the course of this week and already there are the usual groups and political parties calling for the proposals to be scrapped.
I expressed by full support for the plans and look forward to working to put them into law.
And then finally the NHS. With a new Health Secretary in post this week I’ve been speaking to him and lobbying for the changes we need to see locally.
The first of these is the continued investment in Burnley Hospital which we all want to see.
It’s only through that continuation that we can keep its future secure and ensure residents have access to the best possible healthcare. He was very receptive to this and I’ll keep pushing, working with the NHS Trust and other stakeholders.
The second issue was on access to NHS services, particularly GP and dentist appointments. We all understood why access to these were restricted at the beginning of the pandemic and
when the vaccine programme was in its infancy, but for some it still remains difficult to get a face-to-face appointment for either of these.
This is well on the Department’s radar and they will be doing what they can to encourage and support surgeries to make appointments available again.