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News Report Page 6 of 8
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Merseyside householders losing up to ₤400 a year to leaky loos

LEAKING toilets could be hitting Merseyside householders in the pocket and putting the region's precious environment under needless strain, according to a new campaign by United Utilities. The claim follows research which reveals that whilst 59% of people in Merseyside were confident they could tell that their loo was leaking, when quizzed on the signs, most respondents were incorrect.

Many assumed that they would see water on the floor. Not true. In modern toilets, leaking cisterns run straight into the toilet bowl, so it's easy to miss. As a result, up to 8% of loos in Merseyside are leaking unnoticed. Although leaky loos don't cause an immediate plumbing headache, they are a potential financial drain. For households with a water meter, a single leaky loo could cost up to ₤400 extra a year on their water bill; money that is literally going down the drain.

Fixing a leaky loo also helps to save the environment. Waterwise estimates around 400 million litres of water leaks from UK loos every day, which is enough to supply 2.8 million people with water. That's enough water to supply the populations of:- Edinburgh, Cardiff, Belfast, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Bristol combined. What people may not realise as well is that water in the loo is actually world class drinking water, meaning that when people don't get their leaky loos fixed, precious clean water is going to waste.

United Utilities' research found that although 38% of people in Merseyside admitted having a leaky loo in the past, only 14% said they would get it fixed straightaway. Reasons for this included simply not getting round to it or believing it wasn't causing them any inconvenience. Lockdown has also played a part in the leaky loo problem with people being more hesitant than ever in letting people in the house.

Now United Utilities has recruited former UK Plumber of the Year Drew Styles, from Wigan as its leaky loo ambassador to get the message out that fixing leaks loos is good for your pocket and the planet.

Drew will soon be featuring in series of videos to help explain to people in the North West what leaky loo signs to look out for and why we should be getting our loos fixed; so watch this space.

Said Drew:- "I'm really excited to be part of this campaign and get Merseyside's leaky loo problem sorted. Leaking loos are a really common problem, but they are usually pretty easy to fix for a trained professional. Most of the time I can even get them fixed on my 1st visit and help stop my customers from losing water straightaway."

Emma McCabe, Water Efficiency Manager at United Utilities, says:- "With people being at home more often, now is a great opportunity for people in Merseyside to check their loos for any signs of a leak. At United Utilities we're dedicated to tackling the leaky loo problem and are delighted to have our expert Drew on hand. Our aim is to help our customers save this precious water to reduce their water costs and also, to help save the environment."

United Utilities customers can check their loos for leaks by ordering a free leaky loo strip online at:- UunitedUtilities.Com.

Measures to boost safety on:- 'All Lane Running' Motorways accelerated

THE UK's Transport Secretary confirms technology to spot stopped vehicles will be in place before any new stretch of:- 'All Lane Running' Motorway is opened Pledge comes as Highways England publishes report detailing progress made to boost safety, while setting out ways in which improvements will be sped up 2015 to 2019 figures show fatal casualties are less likely on:- 'All Lane Running' Motorways than conventional ones. Every new:- 'All Lane Running' (ALR) Motorway will open with technology in place to spot stopped or broken down vehicles quickly, while all existing ALR Motorways will have the technology fitted 6 months earlier than originally planned.

The pledge comes as Highways England publishes the Smart Motorways Stocktake 1st Year Progress Report 2021 setting out the progress it has made against an Action Plan published last year to boost safety and backed by a ₤500 million investment. The 1st year progress report includes commitments to speed up the completion of safety measures, as well as the latest safety data.

ALR Motorways; which don't have hard shoulders; are fitted with technology and features not seen on conventional Motorways, such as set back emergency areas, and red X signs on gantries to close live lanes. Radar detection to spot stopped vehicles is also being rolled out.

To accelerate improvements, by the end of September 2022, Highways England will:-

Install radar technology on all existing stretches of ALR Motorway, 6 months earlier than planned.

Upgrade special cameras ten months earlier than planned, so that they can be used to spot and prosecute motorists ignoring 'Red X' signs and illegally driving down closed lanes, putting themselves and others in danger.

Install around 1,000 additional approach signs 6 months earlier than planned, alerting drivers to their nearest place to stop in an emergency.

Work to update The Highway Code to provide more guidance about driving on high speed roads including ALR Motorways will also be brought forward and is due to be published this year, ahead of schedule.

Data from the progress report, covering the 5 years from 2015 to 2019 inclusive shows that ALR Motorways are 1 of the safest types of road in the country. Drivers on a conventional Motorway are 33% more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than drivers on an ALR Motorway.  The data also demonstrates that the fatality rate on strategic road network A roads is 3˝ times that on ALR Motorways.

The figures have been compiled on a 5 year basis because single year figures are too low, and fluctuate too much to draw conclusions from. For the year 2019, there were 9 fatalities on ALR Motorways, 1 less than in 2018, and a total of 15 fatalities on Motorways without a permanent hard shoulder, 4 more than in 2018.

The increase in fatalities in 2019 was accounted for by so called:- 'Dynamic Hard Shoulder' Motorways, where the hard shoulder operates only part time. All these Motorways are being withdrawn and replaced with ALR Motorways.

Despite the data, we know drivers can feel less safe driving along Motorways without a hard shoulder, which is why Highways England is pressing ahead to provide reassurance and boost safety measures.

Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps said:- "Despite the data showing that fatalities are less likely on All Lane Running Motorways than on conventional ones, this doesn't mean all drivers necessarily feel safe on them. That is why I tasked Highways England last year with delivering an Action Plan to raise the bar on safety measures even higher. This progress report shows the extensive work already carried out, but we want to do more. Alongside the raft of measures already undertaken, today I am announcing that all new All Lane Running Motorways will open with stopped vehicle detection technology in place, as well as a programme to speed up the roll-out of the technology on previously built stretches of All Lane Running Motorways to next year. This will help us further reduce the risk of accidents on the country's roads. So called Smart Motorways started to be built in 2001 and I'm determined to ensure that technology and exacting standards are in place"

Highways England's Acting Chief Executive Nick Harris said:- "I want Highways England to continue to be an organisation that listens, and puts the safety of road users 1st. We've made good progress delivering the improvements set out in the 2020 Stocktake, but we are not complacent and are examining ways to improve safety further. We will continue implementing the findings, and will work with drivers to make increasingly busy Motorways safer for everyone who uses them."

Today's announcement builds on the progress made by Highways England on the Smart Motorway safety evidence stock take and action plan published by the Transport Secretary in March 2020. This committed to more measures to help drivers and their passengers feel safer and be safer, backed by a ₤500 million investment.

In the past year, Highways England has made good progress on the Action Plan, including:- launching their biggest ever road safety campaign, setting out what to do in the event of breaking down on a high speed road.

Work has also been completed to make Emergency Areas more visible along with improved signage, and radar technology is now being rolled out along sections of ALR Motorway across the country. Additionally, Highways England and the Home Office have continued work so motorists who drive along lanes closed by a red X can be caught and prosecuted.

Independent road safety campaigner, Meera Naran, whose 8 year old son Dev died in a Motorway accident on the M6 in 2018, said:- "This is a positive step in the right direction in making our roads safer through the use of available technology. I'm determined to ensure there is an on going commitment from ministers and executives that we continue to improve road safety and implement all the changes from the action plan."

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