HIGHWAYS bosses who were accused of not taking road safety seriously despite outlining ambitions to reduce all fatalities on Barnsley’s roads have hit back - but warned numerous campaign groups that their calls for action will not be prioritised unless accident data backs up their claims.

The row was prompted when Coun Will Fielding, who represents the Dodworth ward, said a number of concerns had been fielded by colleagues about the area which connects High Street, Dodworth Green Road, Station Road and Barnsley Road.

According to South Yorkshire Police data, just one personal injury collision was recorded between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022 - the latest available figure.

However, the statistics have been refuted by Coun Fielding, who said the records don’t reflect the true number of near misses and minor injuries known of by locals in recent years - something which councillors believe is the same across the town.

They said: “The latest figures we’re given were taken during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic when traffic levels were low, so they’re not a true reflection of the problems faced at that junction.

“They’re also not a comfort to those affected by the goings-on at the crossroads, which are a well-known and long-standing issue.

“A proper report - without the references to South Yorkshire Police’s data which only shows injuries and fatalities - is needed.”

Statistics from the Department of Transport show there were 430 casualties reported on Barnsley roads in 2022 - down from 485 the year before - but last year’s are still to be revealed.

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A road casualty is described as a person killed or injured in a collision but casualties are sub-divided into killed, seriously injured and slightly injured.

The council’s ambition is to reduce the number of fatalities by at least 50 per cent by 2030, with a longer aim of zero people killed or seriously injured by 2050.

Coun James Higginbottom, cabinet spokesperson for environment and highways, said sites for work were chosen on a worst-first basis - and ruled out Dodworth’s crossroads.

“Areas with the highest level of risk receive the greatest priority,” he added.

“To ascertain the risk level of sites, we use personal injury collision (PIC) data obtained by South Yorkshire Police using the ‘Crash’ collision reporting system.

“This records information about the collision, including time, date, location, weather and other factors that contributed to the collision.

“The data is analysed by staff to see if there are any concerns as to the frequency and nature of the collisions.

“All causation factors are thoroughly investigated and, if necessary, any improvement works are programmed.

“We have a statutory duty to monitor all collisions - each year we interrogate the database to find the sites in Barnsley with the highest level of risk and then seek to resolve issues with these sites using the available funding.

“The crossroads do not currently meet the criteria for the provision of any road safety measures, especially given the fact that we have sites in the borough where serious personal injury and fatalities have occurred.

“It is absolutely ethical that these sites should be prioritised for the road safety funding that is available.

“However, I agree that PIC data alone does not represent the complete picture of the problem so it would be great if the information we receive would record damage-only collisions, too.”