Council scoops award for safety improvements to ‘Cat & Fiddle’ road

Cat and Fiddle AwardCheshire East Council has scooped a top award for its safety improvements to the once-notorious ‘Cat and Fiddle’ road.

The authority has been awarded a Prince Michael International Road Safety Award (PMIRSA) for its improvements to the A537 between Macclesfield and Buxton.

Praising the complex safety project, the judges said the programme showed ‘long-term commitment to improve the safety of a particularly dangerous road by working collaboratively with multiple agencies’.

Last autumn, the Cat and Fiddle route dropped out of the list of persistently higher-risk roads in the UK and became among the top 10 improved roads in Britain, according to the Road Safety Foundation EuroRAP results for 2015.

Investment from Cheshire East Council and partners has resulted in a number of road safety improvements to promote safe use of the previously dangerous, six-mile stretch of road to deliver a reduction in the number and severity of road traffic incidents.

The investment saw the upgrade of safety barrier systems, a 50mph speed limit and installation of average speed cameras, all supported by regular routine maintenance activities, including resurfacing and road marking renewals.

The Road Safety Foundation listed the A537 as the fifth most improved road in Britain, based on comparison of collision data between the 2008-10 and 2011-13.

Improved roads are ‘those where there has been a statistically significant reduction in the number of fatal and serious crashes over time’, with the Cat and Fiddle Road seeing a 77 per cent decrease in fatal and serious collisions.

Councillor David Brown, Cheshire East Council deputy leader, said: “This award is a testament to the commitment of this council to work closely with our partners to improve safety for users of this once-notorious road.

“Promotion of the safe use of our roads by all road users continues to be an absolute priority. We will continue to encourage responsible use of the A537 to ensure this significant drop in collisions is maintained for the benefit of all.”

Stakeholders in the scheme include Cheshire East Council, Cheshire Road Safety Group, Derbyshire County Council and Cheshire Constabulary.

The A537 has featured in all previous EuroRAP survey results in the list of persistently higher risk roads. The road entered the most-improved table last year after seeing a significant reduction in the number of serious crashes from 31 to 7 between 2008-10 and 2011-13.

The award was presented this week (December 13) by Prince Michael of Kent to representatives of Cheshire East Council at a national awards ceremony in London.