Monday, 21 February 2011

”It’s one of those bizarre things Essex County Council does.”

Essex County Council, which is looking to make hundreds of redundancies in a bid to cut costs, has been stencilling drink-drive messages on pavements across the county.
Clearly, it’s more important to them than the business of keeping the roads free of potholes, the drains clear, and the bins emptied…
Under the cover of darkness recently, a lorry and generator arrived and powered up outside the Albion pub, in Rowhedge High Street.

The noise woke up residents, including the six-month-old daughter of landlord Simon Taylor, who went outside to ask what was going on.

He said: “They said they were from Essex County Council and added, ‘you’re the reason why we’re doing this, because you sell the alcohol’.”

And clearly, no point in complaining to the council’s Noise Abatement Team…
The next morning, Mr Taylor, his wife, Dawn, and baby, Sophia, went outside to see the message: “Whatever You Drive, Keep A Clean Licence –” stencilled on the pavement.
How useful…
Mr Taylor said: “I fully agree with the message, don’t get me wrong.”
Is that really the case? Or do you just think it’s the safest thing to say?
“But it’s the way they’ve done it. They have woken up my daughter and other people with a generator sandblasting a message on the pathway.”
So if they hadn’t done it at night, you’d be OK with it?

Because it would still be a colossal waste of money when they have more pressing concerns, wouldn’t it?
Ward borough councillor Mike Lilley questioned the use of County Hall resource, saying the message in Rowhedge had faded within days.
Probably still lasts longer than the pothole ‘repairs’ though….
He said: “It’s one of those bizarre things Essex County Council does.

“In Rowhedge there are still a number of potholes waiting to be filled by highways officers.

“So why are they wasting money by people working at night and putting signs down that last two days?”
Good question. Is the answer ‘Because we can!’..?

Ah. Yes, it appears so:
An Essex County Council spokesman said: “The stencils are part of a road safety campaign targeting young car drivers, who are involved in a third of all accidents in Essex.

“Its aim is to encourage them to re-evaluate their driving behaviour. The cost of the street stencils was £6,400 and they were placed in Basildon, Braintree, Chelmsford and Colchester, which were key locations for young driver accidents.

“They are an exceptionally cost-effective, targeted medium that is unusual in its display format and gives it unprecedented penetration with the target audience.”
It’s still not the business of the council, though, is it?


Longrider said...

Well, "keep a clean license" is a sensible message. Writing it on the road so as to distract drivers is less sensible...

F***W*T TW****R said...

They're Cunts.

English Viking said...

Sounds distinctly like graffiti to me.

Xopher said...

"Cost effective"!
Prove it.
It may be cheaper than SOME other 'initiatives' but when its faded away its simply money down the drain

Woman on a Raft said...

Domain name:

Essex County Council

Registrant type:
Other UK Entity (e.g. clubs, associations, many universities)

Registrant's address:
County Hall
Market Road
United Kingdom

1 & 1 Internet AG [Tag = SCHLUND]
URL: or

Relevant dates:
Registered on: 12-Jan-2011
Renewal date: 12-Jan-2013
Last updated: 25-Jan-2011

Registration status:
Registration request being processed.

Name servers:

WHOIS lookup made at 14:02:16 21-Feb-2011

It looks like somebody at the county council can spend money registering domains which don't need registering, commissioning stencils and paying night-crews (or stencil firms) to to out and paint them. That's before the cost of the website:

That is owned by Essex CC but I doubt if they built it themselves, so that will be another cost.

The campaign spanned billboards, smaller notices, advans (presumably they drive round), and a game from Halobrand.

So it looks like Essex CC flung a load of public money at Halomedia, which made them feel terribly important and cool.

My recommendation: and FOI to find out how much Halomedia were paid. Then find who signed the contract off at Essex CC and sack them as they are clearly surplus to reqs.

Kevin B said...

"...offers unprecedented penetration..."

Oh I wouldn't say it's unprecedented. I'm sure you've screwed the taxpayer just as hard and deep before. Though i will agree it's a novel way of doing it.

Captain Haddock said...

“In Rowhedge there are still a number of potholes waiting to be filled by highways officers" ...

So that's what they do with the dead (or brain-stem-dead) 'uns is it ?

Span Ows said...

"driveessex"...they haven't really thought about this have they.

JuliaM said...

"Writing it on the road so as to distract drivers is less sensible..."

I doubt it'll be there long enough, especially with the current weather!

""Cost effective"!
Prove it."

WoaR just did. That's a pretty big chunk of change...

"Then find who signed the contract off at Essex CC and sack them as they are clearly surplus to reqs."

Worse than that, they are a liability!

""driveessex"...they haven't really thought about this have they."


Rob said...

Yes, i am not convinced she can prove they are "cost effective", other than thr fact that T least they didn't spend £50k