Road safety review commissioned around US bases following Harry Dunn death

Harry Dunn death
Harry Dunn death - (Copyright PA Archive)
17:48pm, Fri 02 Oct 2020
CBAD8A00-D2B9-4E0E-ADDF-D0366C357A34 Created with sketchtool. E9A4AA46-7DC3-48B8-9CE2-D75274FB8967 Created with sketchtool. 65CCAE04-4748-4D0F-8696-A91D8EB3E7DC Created with sketchtool.

The Transport Secretary has commissioned a review into road safety around US visiting forces bases in the UK following the death of Harry Dunn.

In a letter to the Dunn family, seen by the PA news agency, Grant Shapps said the Road Safety Foundation (RSF) has been contracted to carry out the work, beginning with RAF Croughton.

The Northamptonshire base has been at the centre of an international controversy since 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.

Harry Dunn death - (Copyright PA Wire)

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.

Mr Shapps has now instructed the RSF to conduct a review of the roads around all 10 US Visiting Forces bases in England.

The Transport Secretary told the Dunn family there would be inspections of a total of 83 miles of roads covering routes between RAF Croughton and nearby RAF Barford St John in Oxfordshire, with the work beginning this month.

Under the review, the RSF has been contracted to examine videos of the routes in detail, rate the road, and recommend safety interventions that could lower the risk of the roads.

Road Safety Review - (Copyright PA Wire)

Inspections will then expand to Cambridgeshire bases RAF Alconbury and RAF Molesworth, Suffolk bases RAF Lakenheath and RAF Mildenhall, and Norfolk’s RAF Feltwell.

The RSF will complete their inspections at RAF Fairford in Gloucestershire and RAF Welford in Berkshire, before finishing at RAF Menwith Hill near Harrogate.

Speaking on behalf of the Dunn family, their spokesman Radd Seiger told PA: “We approached Grant Shapps to work with us on this project and met with him and his team earlier this year.

“Their response was nothing short of fantastic and we are incredibly grateful to the Secretary of State for getting behind this campaign.

“He, like us, recognises the risks to life and limb in these road environments outside US bases and is approaching the review of road safety absolutely correctly.

“We are glad that the Road Safety Foundation are taking the lead on the review and we hope that some good will come from it.”

A spokeswoman for the Department for Transport (DfT) said: “We are determined to do everything we can to keep our roads safe.

“That’s why, following the tragic death of Harry Dunn, we launched a safety review of the roads surrounding the 10 bases.

“The review – which is being carried out jointly with the Road Safety Foundation – will make recommendations to improve safety and help prevent future accidents.”

PA understands that details of the recommendations for any potential enhanced safety measures will be published by the DfT in due course.

Sign up to our newsletter