North East Wales

Road safety: Protest over Kerbcraft Wrexham cuts

About 40 supporters of a road safety scheme facing cuts have staged a protest outside Wrexham council.

Kerbcraft Wrexham is run by two staff and volunteers and teaches road safety to pupils aged five to seven.

It is funded by the Welsh Government via the Taith public transport consortium and the cuts could affect six north Wales councils.

Wrexham council said the scheme is valued and the authority would be monitoring and looking at all options.

Conwy councillor Mike Priestly, chairman of Taith in north Wales, said the Welsh government had cut the consortium's annual road safety budget by 21%, which equates to more than £100,000.

As a result a £5,000 annual cut is being passed on to each of the six north Wales authorities an individual councils are free to make up the shortfall.

"Taith covers a number of projects such as drink-drive, seat belts, pass plus [an extended test for young drivers] and we need to budget for a scheme to save the lives of young motorcyclists," he said.

"We have done as much as we can to protect Kerbcraft and the decision on the cuts was voted for by Taith members which includes councillors from all north Wales councils.

"it was not a decision that was taken lightly and the way forward is to work together as some councils could make up the shortfall, or some schools could contribute towards Kerbcraft costs.

'Universally popular'

Wrexham council said: "In light of the anticipated cut in funding from the Welsh Government, Wrexham Council is currently exploring other options in an attempt to ensure this much valued service can continue."

Council leader Neil Rogers said the authority "fully recognise the contribution this service makes in helping to ensure our young people are well equipped with the skills to respond to potential hazards that may present themselves".

He said it was "unfortunate, in this instance, that information has been released before the full details of any potential reduction in Welsh Government funding have been confirmed.

"It is appreciated that Kerbcraft is universally popular and valued by those who deliver and receive the training... Wrexham is monitoring this situation very closely and will continue to examine potential issues and options available as they develop further."

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