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Fire service launches Christmas drink and drug drive campaign

Firefighters in West Sussex are warning about the risks and consequences of drink and drug driving over the festive period.

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West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service has launched a driving under the influence (DUI) campaign as the Christmas party season gets underway.

The fire service is highlighting the experiences of its crews and members of other emergency services who have attended road traffic collisions.

In addition, an offender, currently serving a prison sentence for driving under the influence, has been speaking about his experience.

In 2017 West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service attended 43 road traffic collisions where the driver was under the influence of alcohol.

Among those who shared their experiences was Richard Poole, Crew Manager at Steyning Fire Station.

He said: “When you get a report about an RTC with persons trapped, the things that go through your mind are: How bad is the accident? What are their injuries going to be? Are they alive? And do you know them? We join to help people, not to pick up the pieces on the side of the road.”

A drink drive offender who killed two pedestrians has also shared his story in a bid to get people to think twice before getting behind the wheel under the influence.

The offender, who was filmed for the campaign, says: “I decided to drink, I got distracted and by the time I looked forward, I was over the stop line, and it was too late to react. There are two families out there that are suffering and it’s all because of my actions and my decision to drive that night. It’s something that I will have to live with for the rest of my life. It all could have been avoided.”

If caught driving under the influence, you could face:

• A possible prison sentence
• A driving ban for a minimum of 12 months
• An unlimited fine
• A criminal record
• An increase in car insurance

Debbie Kennard, Cabinet Member for Safer, Stronger Communities, said: “Please consider the consequences of driving under the influence, not just to yourself but to those around you. If you’re going out and are planning to have a drink, make sure you have alternative plans to get home. Don’t drink and drive.”

For more information or to watch the videos please visit www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire and select ‘Keeping safe campaigns’ and ‘Winter fire safety advice.’

Coronavirus

Come visit our parks, just not Tilgate says Crawley Council as questions continue over car parks closure

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Crawley Borough Council is asking residents who want to go to the towns parks to try other ones besides Tilgate Park over worries that social distancing is not able to be maintained due to its popularity.

In a statement released the council says that by encouraging people to visit other parks then it will ‘reduce the burden on Tilgate Park and the residential streets nearby, while the car parks remain closed’.

But residents have questioned why the car parks are still not open despite advice from the government allowing it to happen.

One resident who questioned the decision to keep the car parks closed with Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb said of his response:

“His view is that despite the Government relaxing restrictions ( and these are to be relaxed even more next week ) he doesn’t agree with Boris Johnson and so has decided to maintain a total lockdown on all the parking that feeds into the largest open space in our town Tilgate Forest and Lake.”

How is it that our Council leader seems to know more about this crisis than our National Government and that despite all other resources being relaxed for example , National Parks throughput the UK are now open and the NT has opened all its beach and countryside locations – he still refuses to allow unencumbered  access for those needing to drive a short distance to use these spaces ( I live in Southgate but my dog has bad arthritis and so can’t manage the 3/4 mile road walk to get to Tilgate Forest by foot).

He has repeatedly told me that Tilgate is his biggest source of revenue and everyday it stays closed he is losing income – so why is he so resolutely opposed to giving back a massive area of natural beauty and Council income to the people of Crawley.”

So if Tilgate Park is off the books then where else is there?

Luckily Crawley has a wealth of parks with Broadfield Park, Goffs Park, Memorial Gardens, the Mill Pond and Bewbush Water Gardens, Southgate Park, West Green Park and Worth Park. And several of these have free parking with car parks acctually open.

The council has also provided information on smaller parks and playing fields across the whole town. For more details on Crawley’s gardens and parks visit crawley.gov.uk/culture/parks-and-open-spaces/gardens-and-parks

Councillor Peter Lamb, Leader of the Council, said:

“Preventing a second outbreak of Covid-19 means practicing social distancing at all times when away from home. Current visitor numbers at Tilgate Park make enforcing social distancing impossible, which is why we are actively asking residents not to visit the park at this time.”

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