SUMMER MOTORWAY WARNING TO PEDESTRIANS
THE Highways Agency is urging
pedestrians of all ages to stay safe this summer – by keeping off
the region’s motorway network.
With the arrival of the long school holidays and light evenings the
Agency is urging parents to talk to children about the dangers of
playing on or near the motorway network. And adults are being
reminded that motorways are not the place to take short cuts.
Meanwhile, Highways Agency contractors across the North West have
been finalising a programme of checking and shoring up fencing at
parts of the motorway network vulnerable to pedestrian
‘intrusions’ – including by children.
Highways Agency engineers in Manchester, responsible for operating,
maintaining and improving the regional motorway network and some
major A roads, have tasked contractors to match intelligence on
‘trouble spots’ with repairs and improvements.
Highways Agency Traffic Officers who patrol the region’s motorway
network around the clock and operate motorway CCTV cameras from the
North West Regional Control Centre near Warrington will also be
increasing their work with local police and reporting sightings of
adults and children walking along or playing on the motorway
Children straying onto the network risk getting a visit from the
police at home while any adults spotted wandering along the motorway
can receive a £30 on-the-spot fine.
Throughout the year Highways Agency staff, Traffic Officers and
contractors visit schools and colleges – often in partnership with
other organisations like the police and fire service - to drive home
the motorway safety message. They take part in things like the
danger-awareness raising Crucial Crew campaign and back initiatives
like Lancashire Police’s annual Operation Haribo which targets
children playing on the motorway network across the county.
However, work by the Highways Agency’s Regional Intelligence Unit
has identified a number of areas of continuing concern where adults
or children have regularly been seen walking or playing on the
motorway network. They include:-
* Junction 1 along the M57 near Huyton, Merseyside
* Junction 23 of the M6 near Haydock, Merseyside
* The eastern section of the M60 in Greater Manchester between
Oldham and Ashton-Under-Lyne with frequent reports of
children and adults walking or playing on the network
* A similar problem around junctions 2 and 3 of the M602 in Salford,
* Junctions 4 to 7 of the M61 between Farnworth and Horwich near
Bolton, Greater Manchester
* Further up the M61 near Chorley in Lancashire
* Other spots in Lancashire along the M6 at Junction 31 and 31a east
* Regular reports of children being spotted playing around junction
10 of the M65 near Burnley.
* Around Junction 34 of the M6 at Halton near Lancaster where
children are pulling down fencing to get to a pier on the other side
of the motorway and then jumping into the river.
* Reports also also received from time-to-time about children
playing on or around parts of the the M53 on the Wirral in
* Incidents around Junction 7 of the M62 in Cheshire not far from
In some of these areas contractors have been out repairing fences
which have simply been vandalised by adults and teenagers trying to
get onto the network or taking a shortcut to somewhere else.
The Highways Agency has a regular inspection regime for fencing but
is looking at better ways of protecting fences in areas where they
are more frequently breached or vandalised. Money is being spent on
improvements such as tougher fencing and anti-climb paint.
Matt Sweeting, the Highways Agency’s Regional Performance Manager,
said:- “We work very hard through our own staff and with other
agencies throughout the year to get the safety message across but as
well as safety awareness we are out all the time checking and
improving physical measures to prevent people coming onto the
motorway network. However, parents have a key role in reminding
children of the dangers and the sometimes tragic consequences of
playing on or near the motorway network. In the case of other
pedestrians we are urging them to think twice this summer before
using the motorway as a shortcut and stop their friends from doing
of all drinkers support lower strength beer option in pubs
AMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale,
has launched a campaign at this week’s Great British Beer Festival,
which could save drinkers 60 pence on a pub pint of lower strength
beer as well as giving them greater choice.
CAMRA is calling on the Government to introduce a “People’s
Pint” by abolishing excise duty on all beers at 2.8% abv or
below. As well as saving consumers 60 pence on a pub pint of lower
strength beer the move would make it easier for drinkers to enjoy a
night out while drinking within sensible limits. Alcohol Concern has
expressed support for CAMRA’s new campaign.
A 60 pence reduction on a pub pint of lower strength beer would help
get people back into pubs at a time when pubs are being battered by
the recession, huge increases in beer tax and fierce competition
from supermarkets selling alcohol as a loss leader. Pubs are
currently closing at a rate of more than seven a day.
CAMRA will be showcasing Welton’s Brewery‘s 2.8% abv beer
‘Pride ‘n’ Joy’ at the Great British Beer Festival being
held in Earls Court, London this week. Visitors can comment on
‘Pride ‘n’ Joy’ at
Mike Benner, CAMRA Chief Executive, said:- "Zero duty on lower
strength beers is a win-win scenario for brewers, pubs, consumers
and the Government. Quality lower strength beers can be packed with
flavour- a lower alcohol content does not need to translate into a
reduction in flavour. For the consumer, this proposal means greater
choice as well as a saving at the bar if they opt for a beer of 2.8%
abv or less. For the Government, this is an opportunity to make it
easier for people to drink responsibly whilst also supporting the
tens of thousands of jobs under threat as a result of falling beer
sales and pub closures."
Don Shenker, Alcohol Concern Chief Executive, said:- "We
support CAMRA’s call to revisit the issue of alcohol duty in order
to encourage the drinks industry to produce lower strength beers.
People are entitled to have more choice and greater control over
their own drinking. Having more lower strength drinks on the market
allows people to enjoy a night out while making it easier to stay
within safe drinking guidelines."
CAMRA’s “People’s Pint” campaign follows
alarming new figures from research body AC Nielsen which suggest
that off-trade sales through supermarkets could overtake beer sales
in pubs next year and that there is a need for lower priced beers in
Mike Benner continued:- "Pubs provide a safe and sociable
place for adults to enjoy alcohol responsibly and it is essential
that the Government supports our campaign to enable pubs to compete
more effectively with ludicrously low supermarket beer prices. With
55% of drinkers in favour of a lower alcohol beer option*, the
demand is clearly there and the Government is free to introduce a
zero-rate on beers of 2.8% abv or less under existing EU rules and
should therefore do so."
CAMRA claims that while pub prices for lower strength beers could be
up to 60 pence a pint lower, the effect on supermarket prices would
Ray Welton, Head Brewer at Welton’s Brewery, said:- "There’s
always the element of lower strength beers being unique selling
points, and I know of a few pubs where licensees are thriving
because of offering a low strength beer option to their customers. A
low strength beer allows people to enjoy a beer when they may wish
to moderate their drinking levels. There is certainly already a
consumer demand for a low-strength beer option in pubs, but to
further this, there needs to be a national campaign in order to
champion its merits."
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North West key workers demand action on alcohol
A major survey of North West key
workers has shown strong backing for Government action on excessive
alcohol promotions. The online survey of 1,354 NHS, local authority,
police workers and others showed that 72% want the Government to ban
activities such as all you can drink offers and dispensing alcohol
directly into customers’ mouths.
Of the other measures proposed in the Government’s proposed new code
of practice for alcohol retailers, 97% supported mandatory free tap
water in pubs and clubs, 71% supported measures to make sure that
smaller measures are always available and 85% supported measures to
ensure that information on the number of units in drinks is
available to customers.
A number of respondents expressed anger on the issue including an
A&E nurse from Greater Manchester. Calum Irving, head of campaigns
and advocacy for Our Life commented:- “Alcohol consumption is
having a vast draining effect on the NHS, both in the treatment of
alcohol dependent patients and alcohol related diseases. On top of
that there is the verbal and physical abuse that staff tolerate on a
daily basis within the wards, departments and the A&E's. The
majority of attendees to our already very busy and over stretched
A&E's are in some way related to the excessive consumption of
alcohol. The cost and stress caused to key workers across the North
West by excessive alcohol promotions has gone too far and people are
making their voice heard now. The government should take note and
resist pressure form the alcohol industry to ‘do nothing’ and
implement a strong code of practice as soon as possible.”
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