Fri, 23 Oct 2020
WEST Berkshire Council has admitted that it would be “very, very difficult” to install new safety measures to protect animals along Burys Bank Road after two cows were killed on the road in September.
On September 1, a pregnant cow was killed in a hit-and-run on the road and a calf had to be put down after being struck by a van on September 27.
Although there is a 30mph speed limit – as well as warning signs alerting motorists to the presence of animals and cattle grids – at the entrance and exit to the common, there are fears that during the winter months, with longer nights and no street lighting, more incidents involving animals could occur.
In a council executive meeting last Thursday, Phil Barnett (Lib Dem, Newbury Greenham) posed the question of whether any measures were under consideration to ensure animals on Greenham Common were safe from vehicles.
However, executive member for transport and countryside Richard Somner admitted that there wasn’t much that could be done to protect the animals.
Mr Somner said: “It’s not something I’d hold out an enormous amount of hope for.
“Given we’re not legally allowed to fence the common to prevent animals from wandering into the road, it is unfortunately an inevitable risk that collisions may occur.
“I have started conversations with officers already to inspect this section of the road – in particular to ensure that foliage is suitably cut back to give motorists due warning if animals are approaching and to ensure signs are visible and road markings are in a serviceable condition.”
Mr Barnett then asked whether chicanes or a lower speed limit could be introduced to slow drivers down. However Mr Somner said it would be “exceptionally difficult”.
Mr Somner continued: “In days gone by, the speed limit has been considerably higher.
“It’s a road that’s become more popular and will become even more popular as time goes by.
“We have restrictions and there’s a lot of criteria that would need to be met to introduce any extra calming measures.
“The issue remains that if people aren’t sticking to the 30 limit and we were to introduce a 20 limit, would it actually make a difference?
“I’m more than happy to take that conversation forward but my initial feeling is that it will be exceptionally difficult.
“It would need a lot of review and need a lot of criteria to be met, and I’m not sure it’s that likely.”