Campaign launched for safer streets

Travel writer Bill Bryson launched a campaign to improve the design and safety of English streets last week.

English Heritage has joined forces with the Women's Institute and the Department for Transport to spearhead the campaign. It bemoans the muddle of signs, bollards, bins and broken paving that spoil the urban environment.

Transport minister Tony McNulty said: "Streets that are safe, attractive places for people to live and work need to be the rule, not the exception."

More than 20 organisations can install street equipment without any control or co-ordination, according to English Heritage. The agency warns that street enhancement schemes, such as the £2 million spent improving The Strand in London, can often deteriorate quickly because of poor maintenance.

Bryson, an English Heritage commissioner, said: "England's streets are very important to how it is perceived. For people like me, parachuted in from abroad, how a nation presents its streets is the first thing that we notice."

English Heritage will produce regional streetscape manuals to show what type of paving, street furniture, signage and traffic management best suit areas. Street management and design training will be offered to highways engineers and planners.

Women's Institute chairwoman Barbara Gill said: "Pleasant streets attract more people, making them safer. This is particularly important to women."

- Save Our Streets can be viewed via

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