IAM survey highlights party differences among councillors on road-related priorities

Conservatives prioritise motoring related issues, but it's the Lib Dems who push cycling and walking

by Simon_MacMichael   April 30, 2013  

Car wheel at speed copyright Simon MacMichael.jpg

Ahead of this Thursday's local elections, road safety charity IAM has released the results of a survey it carried out among more than 1,000 councillors throughout the UK to find out what their priorities are when it comes to road safety. Road surfaces and potholes, and improving road safety, are seen as key priorities for representatives of the three main GB-wide parties, but other issues do highlight significant differences between the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats in specific areas.

Rather than bombard you with text, we thought it simpler to show the different responses graphically in a chart.

Conservative councillors come out firmly as prioritising issues that will be most of concern to the motoring lobby - reducing congestion, more car parks, and investing in road building and infrastructure projects.

Those are much less of a priority for their Labour and Liberal Democrat counterparts - both strongly favour more use of public transport, and the latter in particular place an emphasis on cycling and walking, with two thirds of them saying it is an area they look to prioritise.

The green bar in the chart below is really there for information only - it represents other parties, including independents, and encompasses a broad range of views, possibly including the Green Party, UKIP, the Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru, among others, although it's impossible to say for sure.

IAM's full survey includes a number of questions relating specifically to cycling, and we'll be analysing the responses to those in a separate article.

IAM local councillor survey, February 2013

% responses

IAM emailed all councillors in England Scotland and Wales to find out their views on a range of issues; some 1,117 reponses were received, of which 415 were from Conservative councillors, 303 from Labour, 197 from Liberal Democrats and 202 form representatives of other parties/independents.

23 user comments

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Hart county council appear to have dug up a perfectly good road outside my house and resurfaced it, but travel a mile in any direction and its bordering on cyclocross style, with huge, deep potholes and missing chunks of tarmac. Morons.

'It's the closest you can get to flying'
Robin Williams response when asked why he enjoyed riding so much

posted by Simmo72 [419 posts]
30th April 2013 - 12:03

1 Like

odd, Gloucestershire County Council are not repairing roads, instead hoardind cash for a rainy day. That the roads are falling apart is a minor detail.

It is a tory council...

mrmo's picture

posted by mrmo [1449 posts]
30th April 2013 - 12:08

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I have the same thing in Harrogate, a decent road (well when I say decent I mean only a few pot holes) has been dug up and replaced, 100 years away is what can only be described as war zone, how do they decide what to repair !

posted by mikeprytherch [219 posts]
30th April 2013 - 12:37

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All very interesting. But given the LibDems' treachery over tuition fees, does anyone believe a word they say?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
30th April 2013 - 12:42

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The Green Party and UKIP have entirely different policies on transport, yet in this survey they are lumped together under "Other Parties".

posted by zymurgic [4 posts]
30th April 2013 - 13:51

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zymurgic wrote:
The Green Party and UKIP have entirely different policies on transport, yet in this survey they are lumped together under "Other Parties".

Yup, which is why we say that column is only there for info... it could be absolutely anyone, may not even contain UKIP or Green for all we know (there were 202 responses in total from Other/Independent).

Simon_MacMichael's picture

posted by Simon_MacMichael [8651 posts]
30th April 2013 - 14:30

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and to think that "Two Jags" Prescott was seen as hugely car-centric.

posted by zymurgic [4 posts]
30th April 2013 - 14:35

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Judging from what I've seen locally as the roads in Sefton are subcontracted out I would not be surprised if the road repairs are from a schedule drawn up before the past 3 years bad winters. A local connector route is just dreadful but the residential road next to ours was re surfaced when it didn't need repair.

Left covered in gravel for weeks it turned out to be micro tarmac and already has holes in the new layer - which collect water - and work away at the layer below which had it been left alone wouldn't have needed resurfacing for another 3 years or so. Thinking

They know best though.... Er? Actually from all the evidence they obviously don't. Sad

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1099 posts]
30th April 2013 - 15:06

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'All very interesting. But given the LibDems' treachery over tuition fees, does anyone believe a word they say?'

one man's 'treachery' is anothers 'coming to their senses'...crazy thing to promise in the first place.

posted by andyp [1170 posts]
30th April 2013 - 15:08

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andyp wrote:
'All very interesting. But given the LibDems' treachery over tuition fees, does anyone believe a word they say?'

one man's 'treachery' is anothers 'coming to their senses'...crazy thing to promise in the first place.

I don't think it was that crazy. The LibDems never expected to be on the Government benches, and cynically made vote catching promises they could have kept had they remained in opposition. That they did this as individuals, rather than a party, was pretty shabby even by the low standards of politics.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
30th April 2013 - 17:04

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It's the perfect term, no matter what the politics.
Nobody in their right mind could sensibly argue against tuition fees. Simple as that.
And admitting mistakes is far better than blindly sticking to your guns despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. See Iraq and WMD...

posted by andyp [1170 posts]
30th April 2013 - 17:06

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andyp wrote:

Nobody in their right mind could sensibly argue against tuition fees.

Why not?

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
30th April 2013 - 17:55

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The lib dems came round t'other day. Bad choice as I'm a student, poor lib dem councilor hopefuls only response was "I can see why you'd be annoyed". Can't even defend themselves, will anyone ever vote for them again? Lab seem like they want to do the most as far as roads are concerned but not a fan of labor. I like hearing Miliband slag of the torries but curious to see if he would be reversing the 'damage' they have done if they get in power...

All the same as each other really at the end of the day.

Sorry bit of a rant not related to cycling at all

posted by Cycle_Jim [282 posts]
30th April 2013 - 18:06

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Oh and as for not keeping promises - surely if its a pledge it must be kept. It was the only reason Lib Dems got in in the first place. They told a bare face lie to the student voting population. I'm going to go into politics and make promises that aren't going to be kept. Every household can have £500. PER PERSON!! Big Grin

As for the road surfaces I think they should have some tarmac-y people ride around the roads on bikes (preferably boneshakers) and then they will be quickly making changes to the road layouts/surfacing (It will also be cheaper than having them drive round in the great big vans)

posted by Cycle_Jim [282 posts]
30th April 2013 - 18:15

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'Bad choice as I'm a student'

Do you not want an education, or something? Bizarre. It isn't going to cost you much in the long run. If you're not interested in the teaching side of things, you could always drop out, and just recreate the getting pissed and scratching your arse all day bit elsewhere? Or, look into Moocs.

'Why not?'
er..seriously? People want universities, but they don't want them to be funded.
We want something that costs money, but we won't spend any money on it.

Aye, that'll be right.

posted by andyp [1170 posts]
30th April 2013 - 18:21

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Yes Andy, seriously. Why not just make sick people and accident casualties pay for Hospitals? After all they're the ones getting the benefit.

posted by The Rumpo Kid [590 posts]
30th April 2013 - 18:37

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andyp you clearly do not have a clue what you are on about, you are talking about mortgage levels of debt with no guarantee that you will make that money back over your lifetime. Universities are now a middle class only dossing ground and the standard of education in our workforce is falling at an alarming rate, forcing employers to look overseas for skilled staff. Invest in education and we invest in our nation's future, to make students pay now may have a short term financial benefit to today's government but the long term consequences will be dire. FYI universities are not funded by students but by research, which has always been their principal business. Next it will be schools, don't even get me started on how wrong it is that we allow fee paying schools.

None of which has any relevance to the article, the only part that surprises me is how low a priority road safety seems to be.

posted by drfabulous0 [404 posts]
30th April 2013 - 19:17


Andy you have shown excellent levels of not understanding what my point was. Your also tarring all students with the same brush. (Ironic for a cycling site as I'm sure all cyclists have the same problem) Do I want an education...Yes. That's why I'm at university.

The fees will put many potential students off esp when they are considering roles such as GP/doctor scientists etc that we need because they are worried about fees. The fees are short term gain and long term loss, university will become the preserve of the rich (not that the torries will be bothered that poor kids can't afford uni). I have a friend studying a vet course, he will be facing somewhere around £100,000 worth of debt by the end of his education. But don't worry we don't need vets, Mr. Snuffles will probably cure himself when you take him to the vets.

Any way, quite far off topic now...

MORE ROAD SURFACING! SAFETY! POTHOLES!...other road related comments...

posted by Cycle_Jim [282 posts]
30th April 2013 - 19:42

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Education is for all, money shouldn't be a barrier for a good, quality education.

I think we all understand that there isn't a magic tree that gives the country money to spend on education, hospitals and infrastructure.

posted by Cycle_Jim [282 posts]
30th April 2013 - 19:49

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On the back of my grant funded degree course in 1980 I have paid many more thousands of pounds in tax than my education cost. Thats why the grant system worked and enabled working class kids to be educated to degree level and beyond. The payback to society in funding higher education is greater than the cost of provision.

Fees only seem necessary when taking a short term view, in reality they'll slightly soften short term financial costs to government, reduce accessibility to many potential students and create massive personal debt levels - all a bit much for something with no long term financial benefits.

On top of that fees are grossly unfair.

I'm in my right mind and will always oppose tuition fees!


posted by shay cycles [262 posts]
30th April 2013 - 22:18

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On the whole education issue, perhaps if we could educate the councils that spraying tar and gravel does not work or last they might save money in the long term. The safety reasons alone should dictate the banning of such methods, but we all know real road safety is such a low priority for them, it's just not seen as a vote winner.

posted by Mart [110 posts]
1st May 2013 - 5:38

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Probably out side a councillers house...

posted by farrant31 [1 posts]
1st May 2013 - 16:11

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Tories like cars, Libs like cycling, Labs like public transport.

Now, in ursine sylvan toilet habits...

Ghedebrav's picture

posted by Ghedebrav [1113 posts]
24th May 2013 - 7:32

1 Like