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Sunday, 23 November 2014

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Time limit on roadside tributes

ROADSIDE tributes to car crash victims in Copeland will be removed from the site after 12 weeks, under new guidelines.

cefloral tribute
roadside tributes: They will be removed from sites after 12 weeks, under new county council guidelines

The move has been criticised in some quarters, saying the 12-week policy is “putting a limit on people’s grief”. But Cumbria County Council, which has introduced the countywide policy, says it is necessary to improve highways safety.

The council’s newly introduced Roadside Memorials Policy allows “the placing at the roadside of temporary floral and other temporary tributes for a 12-week period following a fatal crash”. Prior to this limit being introduced, there had previously been no formal policy on the issue in Cumbria, where floral roadside tributes are a familiar sight on many major routes. Roadside memorials have always been removed by Highways staff if they became an obstruction to the road itself, as any hazard would be.

A local funeral director told The Whitehaven News: “I think putting any sort of limit on it is putting a restriction on a family’s grief.

“Who is to say how long a person feels the need to visit the site of a tragedy and leave flowers or other personal tributes for their own peace of mind? What about birthdays and anniversaries after the 12-week period?”

A spokesman for Safer Roads for Cumbria said he knew of no evidence showing that roadside tributes caused accidents by distracting drivers.

The policy was agreed at a recent meeting of the council’s local committee chairs and leadership.

Some members voiced concern that the response is “out of proportion” and “would cause undue anguish for grieving families.”

They were reminded however that the county council could be deemed liable if there was an accident, as roadside memorials are classed as an obstruction under the Highways Act and subject to enforcement.

There were 30 deaths on Cumbria’s roads in 2012.

A Cumbria County Council spokesperson said: “ We recognise that memorials are personal and meaningful to families and friends of victims and the new approach takes this into consideration, however as the local highways authority, the county council has a duty to ensure memorials do not cause distraction to other road users or endanger those attending them.

"We have engaged widely with other interested parties on this issue and the key principle of the new approach is to allow the placing of flowers or tributes by the roadside for up to 12 weeks following a fatal crash after which a sensitive approach is recommended to their removal.”

Have your say

All as i can say is i hope you never lose a relative or a loved one to a tragic car accident Michelle Hutton.

For some families it is more than just a tribute to owe they have lost, it is also acceptance as to who they have lost.

Posted by Ian on 13 February 2013 at 13:25

Very selfish attutude michelle hunton,people do not always die in a bed,if they are killed horrifically on a roadside or on the road is the pain of the bereaved the same as someone who died in a bed ,i don't think so,everybody is different,some take a long time to heal and some never heal from a loss,as any councillor will say everybody is different and they all heal in their own way and their own time,who are we to tell them when to stop,besides how many people see these tributes and slow down because they know what it means,how many lives has that saved.Why do you regard a tribute as "clutter".

Posted by James O on 12 February 2013 at 15:38

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