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In this article, Alpha Rail looks at the street decluttering policy and whether it has any bearing on the rise in the appearance of hostile vehicle barriers.

Back in 2010, Eric Pickles made the news headlines by calling for councils to get rid of unnecessary street cluttering a bid to make streets tidier and less confusing for motorists and pedestrians.

He claimed that our streets were becoming obstacles courses. So, as well as reducing street signage and traffic signal poles, this also led some local authorities to remove metal railings and pedestrian guardrail.

Fast forward to 2018, and a number of towns and cities have found the need to install hostile vehicle barriers, railings and fencing as a way to prevent terror attacks such as the one which occurred on Westminster Bridge on 22 March 2017.

The latest location to have hostile vehicle barriers installed are the roads around Trent Bridge Cricket Ground in Nottingham. This has caused lots of controversy with local residents who are annoyed at having to have what they believe are ugly monstrosities spoiling their neighbourhood.

Hostile barriers at Trent Bridge Hostile barriers at Trent Bridge

Birmingham City Centre has also recently had huge yellow bollards and barriers installed to prevent vehicles accessing pedestrianised zones. This too has angered local residents.

So, it would seem that attractive pedestrian guardrail has to go, only to be replaced in certain high risk locations with huge unsightly concrete or metal barriers.

Hostile Vehicle Barriers Birmingham

Going back to the question as to whether the street cluttering policy has worked or not, there is growing evidence that this de-cluttering policy has reduced accidents because cars and pedestrians are more aware and visibility has been improved through the removal of too many signal posts at junctions.

But could the street cluttering policy have made it easier for a hostile to launch an attack on innocent pedestrians? And is it really necessary to install such heavy duty barriers?

We are not suggesting that pedestrian guardrail is in anyway a suitable replacement for the hostile vehicle barrier, as their purpose is to guide pedestrians to safe crossing points, not act as a crash barrier. However, if pedestrian guardrail was installed, we believe that this would certainly deter a vehicle from trying to mount the pavement to cause injury to pedestrians.

As you may expect, we believe, pedestrian guardrail is a more attractive solution, in situations where aesthetics really need to be considered. Ideally, without putting lives at risk, we’d like to see councils and highways planners consider pedestrian guardrail as an alternative solution to these unsightly hostile vehicle barriers.

We understand pedestrian guardrail won’t stop a determined driver from crashing their vehicle through at high speed, but as a deterrent, they could be an alternative.

Alpha Rail has supplied metal railings and pedestrian guardrail for many town centre improvement schemes and has the ability to manufacture bespoke designs and colours to match town centre locations and Borough insignia’s.

If you have a project in mind that needs pedestrian guardrail or metal railings, please get in touch.