CAMPAIGNERS are calling for any moves to switch off traffic lights to ease congestion in Hereford to include safeguards for vulnerable pedestrians.

Herefordshire Council transport chief John Harrington last month revealed he would look into the viability of turning off the lights at the Asda/Belmont and Tesco/Steels roundabouts in a bid to improve traffic flow through the city.

But leaders at the National Federation for the Blind have concerns over how this will affect visually impaired pedestrians who wish to cross the road.

National Federation for the Blind UK President Andrew Hodgson said: “We are very concerned that shared space road junctions are being proposed as part of this review and although Councillor John Harrington has said that pedestrian traffic lights will be retained, this commitment has to made of cast iron.

“Vision impaired people in Hereford will find it difficult, if not impossible, to use these areas, if traffic light pedestrian crossings are not retained or if new ones are not installed.

“The NFBUK recommend puffin crossings as these sensors to ensure all pedestrians have sufficient time to cross the road and have accessibility features that blind people need to cross the road safely, like the rotating cone and an audible bleep.

“It is also critical that standard height kerbs are retained at all junctions to prevent vehicles running over the pavement area, which is dangerous for all pedestrians.

“There is a particularly high percentage of vision impaired people in the city of Hereford due to the presence of the Royal National College for the Blind.

“I hope that councillor John Harrington will take this into account and we will be in contact directly to raise our concerns with him.”