Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Highland pupil's road safety dispute

The Press and Journal reports that a Highland couple have kept their 10-year-old daughter off school for 18 months – for fear she might be knocked down and killed on a busy single-track road. 

Robert Brooks and his wife Shermaine from Skye claim it is not safe for Katie-Ann to walk three miles along the 60mph limit A855 Uig to Staffin road to Kilmuir Primary School because there is no pavement or street lighting.

They decided to keep her at home after Highland Council ruled in August 2009 that she no longer qualified for free transport because she lived less than three miles from the school, a distance children aged eight and over are expected to be able to walk.

Louise Melia, associate solicitor at the Glasgow-based Govan Law Centre, who has taken up the family’s case, said a legal precedent had already been set whereby walking distance rules could be overridden on the grounds of road safety. Ms Melia said councils have a “huge amount of discretion” and the authority could decide to provide free transport if it wanted.

A spokesman for Highland Council said the council had carried out a new risk assessment of the A855 and the results would be shared with Mr Brooks “very shortly”.


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