In the spring edition of the Warbler, we reported that we had applied for £15k of funding for a Local Highways Improvement (LHI) for a 20mph Zone between the approach to the school through to the nursery in Church Street. This initial project was Phase 1 of a traffic calming scheme which, we hoped in time, would extend throughout the village. The scheme was designed based on the data collected from the Mobile Vehicle Activated Sign (MVAS) and with input from Highways. We proposed our scheme to the Parish Council, and they decided that it should be submitted as an LHI application. It was also supported by County Councillor John Williams. The total estimated cost was £25k, and our PC offered £10k as our village contribution towards the cost as part funded schemes have a greater chance of success.
About 50 villages also applied for funding from this Local Highways Initiative so there was serious competition for monies from a limited pot.
Unfortunately, the Committee which made the decisions on the allocation of the monies, decided that other settlements had a more urgent need for funding than us.
There is opportunity to make further applications to the LHI. The Speed Awareness Team have decided to step down to allow the HGV Group to interface with our PC without interference and make any future applications for future funding. Other factors include the illness of Mike’s wife Penny, battery charging risks outlined below and also because we believe that we have done all we were asked to do in the gathering and recording of factual speed data at numerous points throughout the village.
Now, some background on The Speed Awareness Team which was set up in the Autumn of 2018. At this time our PC had purchased a MVAS and appealed for help to locate the sign on various lamp posts throughout the village, change the batteries every 2-3 weeks, and relocate the unit on a regular basis. Alister McFarquhar, Mike Smith and Chris Hanson (who has been unable to participate for some time) were the only volunteers responsible for the operating the device. We attended a training session with SWARCO the Manufacturers to be instructed on locating the device, charging and changing the batteries and collecting speed data.
During the next 18 months or so, the MVAS was located at 13 different approved locations and the batteries were changed on a regular basis. The Covid lockdown made this task rather difficult as it was a 2-man task to move the MVAS to different points around the village, so to comply with lock down rules, Alister took over the battery charging and relocating on his own. However, there was a serious issue as during charging, the batteries exploded and did serious damage to Alister’s building. The manufacturers were contacted about this issue. They checked the two spare batteries and deemed them safe for use. However, a few months later, these batteries also exploded during charging, but fortunately this time they were being charged in an external fireproof housing, so no damage was done. As a result of these battery issues, the MVAS is currently inoperative and will stored until a solution has been found on the battery safety issue.
Prior to the battery issue, we had gathered enough data to show where the speeding issues were in the village, and we were also able to identify where there were no speeding issues. This data formed part of our application for LHI funding that we mentioned earlier. All the data is safely stored in the PC Drop-Box.
A summary of our data is shown on the table here
It is possible that driving habits might have changed since our data collection exercise, but any speed changes are likely to be insignificant. The mix of vehicle types, such as more white vans and HGVs probably has changed. However, we do not have any historical data on this mix as the MVAS does not record the various vehicle types.
We thank our PC for all their support during our project and we also thank Natalie, our PC Clerk for sorting the risks analysis, work processes and lamp post approvals.
We wish the HGV Group every success in reducing speeds through our village.
Alister McFarquhar and Mike Smith
The Speed Awareness Team