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Government review into road safety around US airbases is welcomed

PUBLISHED: 21:25 02 October 2020 | UPDATED: 21:27 02 October 2020

A review is to be carried out into the safety of roads around US bases in the UK including RAF Mildenhall. Picture: GREGG BROWN

A review is to be carried out into the safety of roads around US bases in the UK including RAF Mildenhall. Picture: GREGG BROWN

Councillors and air force personnel have welcomed the announcement of a review into road safety around US visiting forces bases in the UK following the death of Harry Dunn.

Victor Lukaniuk, West Suffolk Independent councillor for Brandon.  Picture: FOREST HEATH DISTRICT COUNCILVictor Lukaniuk, West Suffolk Independent councillor for Brandon. Picture: FOREST HEATH DISTRICT COUNCIL

In a letter to the Dunn family Grant Shapps, the transport secretary, said the Road Safety Foundation (RSF) has been contracted to carry out the work which will include Lakenheath and Mildenhall.

It follows an international controversy around RAF Croughton in Northamptonshire after the US asserted diplomatic immunity for Anne Sacoolas after the death of 19-year-old Mr Dunn in a road crash in August last year.

Lawyers acting on behalf of 43-year-old Sacoolas said she had driven on the “wrong side of the road for 20 seconds” before the crash.

Left to right: St Edmundsbury borough councillor Carol Bull, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth and Forest Heath district councillor Louis Busuttil. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCILSLeft to right: St Edmundsbury borough councillor Carol Bull, Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth and Forest Heath district councillor Louis Busuttil. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCILS

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Colonel Jason Camilletti, commander of 48th Fighter Wing based at RAF Lakenheath, said: “We support the transport secretary’s review and welcome any findings that will help improve road safety for our communities.”

Councillors for the area surrounding the bases welcomed the review.

Louis Busuttil, Conservative county councillor for Mildenhall, said constituents had raised the issue of road safety around the bases with: “The review is welcome. It’s a serious issue and I’m glad it’s being take seriously by our government and that local airbases are training their new arrivals to drive in the UK as part of their induction.”

Victor Lukaniuk, independent county councillor for Brandon, said he had witnessed unsafe driving around airbases.

“We haven’t had any fatalities regarding drivers on the wrong side of the road, but I have witnessed Americans on the wrong side of the road,” he said.

But Mr Lukaniuk said nobody had raised the driving of US servicemen as an issue to him directly but said anything to improve safety was a good thing.

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According to a council spokesman, the transport secretary has already contacted Suffolk County Council about the review.

He said: “Grant Shapps MP, secretary of state for transport, wrote to Nicola Beach, chief executive of Suffolk County Council, about this matter which was subsequently discussed at the Suffolk Roadsafe Partnership Board meeting.

“It was agreed that Suffolk County Council will work with the USAF, the RAF, Suffolk Constabulary and Highways England to review road safety concerns around RAF Lakenheath and Mildenhall.”


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