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Parliamentary debate on A34 safety to be held tomorrow

Newbury MP Richard Benyon calls for improvements to be made within the next three years

Chris Ord


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Richard Benyon

A parliamentary debate on improving safety on the A34 through West Berkshire is planned for tomorrow.

Speaking to the Newbury Weekly News this week, Newbury MP Richard Benyon said he wants to see improvements made within the next three years following a number of recent fatal collisions on the trunk road.

Mr Benyon, along with fellow Conservative MPs Ed Vaizey and Nicola Blackwood, have secured a debate in Westminster Hall on Wednesday.

The three MPs, whose constituencies border the A34, also met with the A34 Action Group leaders to discuss ways in which safety could be improved along the busy dual carriageway which has seen a number of fatal collisions in recent months – including the death of a mother and three children in August.

The group was set up in the wake of the horrific fatal accident at between East and West Ilsley and has since held a number of meetings aiming to highlight the safety of the road.

After securing the debate in Westminster, Mr Benyon said he was confident he would have the support of other MPs and said the issue would also likely be raised via other political avenues, such as through the Government Select Committee as well as at the MPs’ upcoming meeting with the Roads Minister, John Hayes.

“We want to see traffic management systems in place, including electronic signage, chevrons and various other things that the action group are bringing forward,” he said.

“A Highways Agency feasibility suggested these improvements to be implemented by 2020.

“You could say that’s only three years away, but on the other hand you could say that’s way too long – my thinking is the latter.

“What we are talking about is saving lives.

He added: “In my constituency it’s probably my number one priority at the moment because of the tragedies we’ve witnessed recently.

“Obviously I’m doing this for my constituency but it’s something I have a personal interest in.

“I drive on it, my family drive on it regularly using various access points such as the one at East Ilsley.”  

Mr Benyon also pointed to the economic importance of the road major north to south route.

“Saving lives – that’s our primary motive – but there are also major economic issues for the UK.

“Regular hold-ups mean goods are not being delivered on time and, according to the Road Haulage Association, often goods have to be thrown away, and that adds to the urgency of the situation.”

The parliamentary debate will take place at Westminster Hall on Wednesday, October 26, at 11am.

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Article comments

  • Blizzard

    25/10/2016 - 22:10

    On that road most days. Every day, Every single day I see drivers on their phones drifting, truckers watch Tele or on the phone, ladies doing make up, or generally not being aware. Every Day !!! Slowing traffic or keeping it moving won't help if you are driving while looking down to your phone. Might as well drive with your eyes closed and hope for the best.


  • SuperE


    25/10/2016 - 16:04

    I agree with Grumpy, widen the roadway. There are loads of hills and valleys which makes it difficult for some vehicles to maintain constant speed. Keep your distance, no phones, no drink drive, and no drugs. Jeepers people, make your space safe.


  • ginga

    25/10/2016 - 12:12

    All very well but I'm not sure what improvements could be made that would stop the cause of most accidents - driver error. The recent horrific accident was caused by a lorry driver using his mobile phone instead of looking at the road ahead.


    • Villager

      25/10/2016 - 16:04

      ginga - You are oversimplifying it. Yes, he was driving without due care and attention, but the result would have been far less serious had the traffic been flowing normally. The A34 is no longer adequate for the amount and nature of the traffic it carries.


      • Bombey

        25/10/2016 - 18:06

        Attitudes such as yours are what make the road so dangerous.


        • ginga

          25/10/2016 - 19:07

          Exactly! I couldn't agree more Bombey. The lorry driver was not driving without "due care and attention", he was convicted of causing death by dangerous driving. Even if the road is flowing normally, looking at you mobile instead of the road is lethal.


  • grumpy

    25/10/2016 - 08:08

    scrap the plans to make the M4 a smart motorway, and spend it on A34 make it 3 lanes, and call it the M34 .. Simples :-)


    • Custos planeta

      26/10/2016 - 23:11

      "Simples"...seriously?You use a corny punchline from a TV ad to advocate the destruction of yet more of the AONB when a few more road cops and average speed cameras would suffice?