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Issue:- 17 March 2010


NEARLY 33% of the length of Britain’s single carriageway A roads have white lines so worn out that they do not meet recognised standards, according to the LifeLines Report, an assessment of more than 1,500 miles of the network. And, Britain’s most dangerous roads have the most worn-out centre-line markings of all, leaving drivers clueless when trying to read the road, says the report released by the Road Safety Marking Association (RSMA).

66% of all UK road deaths and serious injuries are on rural A roads. Yet, of more than 60 single carriageway A roads surveyed, totalling more than 1,000 miles, on average 14% of road markings are completely worn out; and a further 15% fall into the “amber” zone and immediately should be scheduled for replacement. Just 29% of lines reach the acceptable level of visibility.

On one of the worst roads in the survey – a 5 mile section of the A6135 between Ecclesfield and junction 36 of the M1 (Hoyland) – 75% of the markings are either barely visible or need an immediate schedule for replacement and just 1% make the grade. 2 other sections of road have nearly half their marks worn out: the A645 in Yorkshire / Humberside and the A509 in Northamptonshire.

2 single carriageway A roads stand out in the LifeLines Report: a 14-mile stretch of the A1133 in the East Midlands, where 75% of the road markings are up to the standard (although this figure was 93% 2 years ago); and 10 miles of the A63 between Leeds and Hull coming a close second.

The quality of markings on major A roads is in line with those on motorways. Of the 470 miles of A roads and motorways surveyed, 20% falls below the minimum specifiable standard and should be scheduled for replacement while 8% have centre line markings so worn that they are barely visible. A high proportion of markings – 39% dual carriageways and 38% motorways make the recommended rating used by the industry but there has been a significant drop in the quality since 2008, when 69% of markings on duals reached this grade and 49% on motorways.

Top marks go to the A303 dual carriageway, which has 86% high quality markings; and the M65 in Lancashire with 91%.  At the bottom of the motorway league is the M61 in the north-west, with more than 25% of the motorway having barely visible markings; and 20% of markings on dual A road, the A27, fail to make the grade.

“These motorways and strategic A roads are managed by the Highways Agency, which has clearly specified standards for the quality of road markings.  2 years ago, just two per cent of our major road network had markings that rated virtually non-existent. This figure has risen at an alarming rate, and now, nearly a tenth of the centre lines our trade routes are dangerously worn.   Most of the single-carriageway A roads in the survey are managed solely by local authorities. The RSMA is concerned that Highways Agency ratings for road markings have never been formally adopted by local authorities, leading to inconsistent maintenance standards on UK roads and the potential for the significant maintenance shortfalls identified in the RSMA report. The high risk of head-on collisions on single-carriageways means centre-line markings are critically important to guide road-users safety on these roads.  It is the Government’s role to provide well-researched and informed guidance for local highways authorities when it comes to specifying safety measures,” says Lee. “I believe that this year’s LifeLines Report presents evidence of sufficient public concern to merit an inquiry by Parliament’s Transport Select Committee, and that’s something we will seek.  Road markings provide the best, most simple navigation aid to drivers, who must to be able to ‘read’ the road at every turn. Without this most modest of investments, motorists are driving blind when we can, in fact, save lives for the cost of a pot of paint.” says George Lee, national director of the RSMA.


LIVERPOOL'S appetite for molecular gastronomy, foodie fads and cooking trends has been revealed as merely voyeuristic, with the ‘Heston effect’ failing to translate in the region’s kitchens. According to research, the UK is still very much a nation of Rosbifs, with traditional British dishes dominating family meal times.

► The classic roast dinner is the most popular home cooked dish, with 59% of Liverpudlians regularly serving up meat, veg and gravy.

► Cottage pie is the second most frequently cooked meal – 50% of Liverpool’s adults prepare it on a regular basis – and casserole is the third most popular (45%).

► Hearty British staples appeal to home cooks over and above the cuisines of Italy, Asia and India; by contrast just 14% of cooks regularly serve risotto, whereas 44% make a curry and 36% prepare a stir fry.

According to the ‘Kallo Stock Cubes Home Cooking Report’, 32% of those in Liverpool serve a home cooked meal every day, with 79% of Liverpool families eating home cooked food at least 3 times a week.

The appeal of home cooking has grown markedly as the economic dip has pinched Liverpool’s household budgets.

► 62% of Liverpudlian families have turned to home cooked meals as a way of saving money and 64% have bought fewer ready meals.

The new popularity of home cooking has also been attributed to nostalgia, with family recipes forming an important part of the household cook’s repertoire.

► In Liverpool, 63% of people regularly cook dishes from their own childhood and 72% claim to have learned cookery basics from their parents.

Commenting on the ‘Kallo Stock Cubes Home Cooking Report,’ Trevor and Sally Oliver – parents of Jamie Oliver – said:- “We’ve both been cooking since we were youngsters and always felt it was important to involve our children in the kitchen and teach them the basics.  We love traditional home cooking; whether it’s a Sunday roast with sponge pudding or a midweek casserole, a home cooked meal is a great excuse to get your family around the dinner table.”

When it comes to meal times, 39% of Liverpool’s families make the effort to sit down and eat as a family every day, whereas 78% manage to enjoy a meal together at least 3 nights a week.

While home cooking has seen an uplift, 53% of Liverpool, though well intentioned, don’t have the time to cook everything from scratch. Many follow the example set by Delia’s ‘How to Cheat’ series, classifying themselves as ‘combination cooks’ using a mixture of fresh ingredients and short cuts.  And despite the wide availability of new spices, flavours and produce, Liverpool’s home cooks prefer to stick to what they know, with 84% admitting that they have a reliable list of tried and tested dishes from which they rarely stray.  Alexis Garrett, Kallo Foods Brand Manager, said:- “A good home cooked meal is hard to beat and is one of life’s most simple pleasures. Traditional British dishes like roasts and pies can be comforting, filling and very economical, which goes a long way to explaining Manchester’s rekindled taste for home cooked food.”

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