West Dorset MP Chris Loder calls for average speed cameras to cut accidents and improve road safety on Sherborne-to-Yeovil A30
In recent times, the stretch of the A30 which connects Sherborne to Yeovil has been the site of numerous road traffic accidents. In July, an 11-year old was airlifted to hospital with serious injuries following a crash; in the same month, there was a serious two-vehicle collision involving an 80-year old near to Bradford Road; and only last December, a fatal crash took place on this same stretch of dual-carriageway. This stretch of the A30 – known locally as Babylon Hill or Yeovil Road – urgently requires road safety improvements to mitigate the high number of incidents we have recently experienced and will continue to experience if nothing is done.
Anyone from North Dorset travelling on this road will recognise the hazards. The four mile long dual-carriageway has a speed limit of 70mph – the same as a motorway – but does not have the same safety features. It is peppered with junctions, not slip roads, that connect the villages of Bradford Abbas, Nether Compton, Over Compton and Trent to the A30. These junctions have been the site of many accidents. Apart from signage, the road doesn’t have static speed cameras or technology to monitor speeding offences. Instead, the safety of road users is dependant on police mobile speed units (and the capacity to deploy them). Speeds in excess of 120 mph have been recorded on this stretch of road over the years, which can cause totally avoidable deaths.
Since I was elected in 2019, I’ve met with many residents at meetings, on the doorsteps and at surgeries to hear their concerns about the A30.
In particular, the parishes of Bradford Abbas, Nether Compton and Over Compton – which are either bordered or bisected by this stretch of road – have shared their wish for measures to address excessive speeding. Their demands are warranted: joining or exiting the A30 via a minor road junction is hazardous, especially at night.
A clear action plan
Road safety in West Dorset is firmly on my agenda following fatalities on this stretch of road, the A3066 and the nearby A35. Only last year I lost one of my best friends from primary school in a fatal accident on the road from Sherborne to Dorchester – I am very aware of the impact accidents have on victims, their friends and families. In 2021, I established my A-Roads taskforce to work closely with National Highways and Dorset Council to improve road safety across the constituency. It meets quarterly to address recent issues on our roads. In April, I raised the matter of West Dorset’s situation with the Roads Minister Richard Holden.
I am now of the view that the best clear action comes in the form of average speed cameras on the A30 between Sherborne and Yeovil.
Piecemeal measures are not enough, this road has become a hotspot for avoidable accidents and an unofficial racetrack between the two towns. I will be writing to the Highways Department at Dorset Council – which is responsible for the road – to voice my concerns and to set out my justification.
Average speed cameras use Automatic Number Plate Reading (ANPR) technology to record a date and time stamp between two cameras to calculate a motorist’s average speed. In practical terms, it would mean that the A30 would have two cameras installed at least 200 metres apart, deterring speeding motorists and improving road safety in the long-term. I would be interested to hear your views on this, and if you would like to share your views with me, you can email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org