FENLAND: Safety campaigner under fire from Kemp for focusing on barriers

PUBLISHED: 14:20 20 November 2008 | UPDATED: 08:43 02 June 2010

THE county s highways chief has criticised road safety campaigner Graham Chappell for focusing his campaign for barriers along Fenland drains on the accident which killed nine year old Charlotte Walker. Mark Kemp, director of highways, s

THE county's highways chief has criticised road safety campaigner Graham Chappell for focusing his campaign for barriers along Fenland drains on the accident which killed nine year old Charlotte Walker.

Mark Kemp, director of highways, said of the campaign that "it's very unfortunate that we are in a sticky situation where Mr Chappell has decided to talk about a specific individual accident in public.

"I appreciate that there's some real grief in the family, and we share that grief."

But Mr Kemp said Mr Chappell "needs to look back at what the coroner said about the individual accident and what the professionals, not just the county council but the police, said about potential things that would have stopped that accident happening."

His comments came during a local radio debate on the barrier campaign and follows increasingly hostile attacks by Mr Chappell on the county council for not supporting more safety barriers on Fenland roads.

Charlotte, from Tipps End near Welney, died in an accident on February 20. She was sitting in the back of her family's Citroen Picasso being driven by her mother Lynn when she lost control of the car sending it spinning into the water.

Motorists stopped to help and dived into the freezing waters but could only manage to drag Lynn from the vehicle.

Mr Kemp agreed a safety fence is "appropriate in some locations, is not appropriate in others, and in this particular instance, what we're saying is that we don't think it's the most appropriate solution in real terms."

He said his conclusions followed years of investigation into Fenland drains and although safety cameras- such as those proposed for the 40 ft- will help, what's needed is for drivers to be more careful.

Mr Kemp added that some 40 people die each year across the county's network and his officers were all affected by the individual tragedies of each. It was one reason why the county's work was "very targeted, and why we've got such a good record in terms of reducing the numbers of people killed and seriously injured."

Mark Kemp.6860BP118

Charlotte Walker. 3577SM118

The Sixteen Foot. 0813SM118


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