Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service wins top EU road safety award

Back in Shropshire with the award next to the Outreach vehicle which travels the county giving out fire prevention and road safety advice is Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority chairman Stuart West (left) and SFRS Area Manager, Head of District Performance, John Das Gupta

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service has won a top EU award for its excellent road safety work.

It was recognised as the best institution among those signing up to the European Road Safety Charter for innovative and successful schemes in the annual Excellence in Road Safety Awards run by the European Commission.

The Shropshire fire service beat nine other UK fire services to the title after all had signed up to the EU Road Safety charter.

Shropshire and Wrekin Fire Authority chairman Stuart West and John Das Gupta, Area Manager, Head of District Performance, went to Brussels to receive the glass award from Antonio Tajani, EC transport Vice-President.

The commissioner said that it was of "utter importance" to reduce the number of road fatalities on a local, national and European level.

Mr West said that Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service was working hard with other road safety partners in the county to educate motorists and motorcyclists through a variety of campaigns to help cut the county's death and injury toll. Over the past year, road traffic collisions in Shropshire are down 30 from 303 to 273.

The fire service in Shropshire won the institutions category beating organisations from across Europe to take the accolade. The Shropshire fire service was praised by the EU for being "committed" to improving road safety by launching informative campaigns and educating road users including young people, bikers and cyclists.

John Das Gupta expressed his sincere gratitude to the work and support of the Road Safety Teams within Shropshire and Telford and Wrekin Councils, stating that this award was really received on behalf of all their partners in recognition of their continued effort in the field of road safety.

A number of initiatives had been introduced including a successful biker education campaign which had reduced motorcycle deaths and injuries. Firefighters also ran a vehicle course to educate youth offenders and turn them away from car crime.

Newly qualified drivers from schools and colleges are educated by fire crews about road safety and the fire service has just introduced an innovative scheme with the Shropshire branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists to put young motorists through the advanced driver scheme at courses run from county fire stations.

A road safety officer responsible for co-ordinating the projects has also been appointed.

"We are committed to reducing road deaths and injuries in Shropshire. It is a prestigious award from the EU and we are very pleased to have been chosen especially with such tough competition from other UK fire services which are also making tremendous efforts in road safety education."

Shropshire fire service was among six of the best initiatives with commendations also going to a Portugal haulage company for educating its drivers; a Polish carrier for improving the skills of truck drivers; a group of Prague mums who have increased road safety for children and Swedish planners who have rebuilt crossings and extended bike routes to improve road safety.

25th January, 2010