Harry Dunn: Road safety review ordered around US bases after teenager's death

2 October 2020, 18:40 | Updated: 2 October 2020, 21:11

Harry Dunn was killed in August last year
Harry Dunn was killed in August last year. Picture: PA
Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

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

The Cabinet minister wrote a letter to the teenager's family in which he explained the Road Safety Foundation (RSF) would carry out the work, starting at RAF Croughton where the 19-year-old was killed.

Since his death in a road crash last August, the Northamptonshire base has been at the heart of an international dispute after the US upheld Anne Sacoolas' right to diplomatic immunity.

Lawyers acting on behalf of the 43-year-old American citizen said she had driven on the "wrong side of the road for 20 seconds" before the crash.

Mr Shapps has now ordered a review of 83 miles of roads around all 10 US visiting forces bases in England.

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The transport secretary told the Dunn family the work would begin this month and would include the routes between RAF Croughton and nearby RAF Barford St John in Oxfordshire.

The work will include the RSF examining videos of the routes in detail, rating the road and recommending safety interventions to reduce any hazards on the roads.

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 said: "We approached Grant Shapps to work with us on this project and met with him and his team earlier this year.

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"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 RSF 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 RSF - will make recommendations to improve safety and help prevent future accidents."

Details of the recommendations for any future enhanced safety measures will be published by the DfT in due course, it is understood.