Suffolk: Cone shortage could cause torch relay Olympic-size hurdle

LEGISLATION taking responsibility for traffic management at public events away from police – and a subsequent shortage of free traffic cones – could add to the challenges of making the Olympic Torch Relay run smoothly through Suffolk next month.

The flame is due to pass through 16 of the county’s towns and villages on July 5, 6 and 7 and police estimate about 1,000 traffic cones will be needed to make road blocks work across our area.

But, because since the Traffic Management Act 2004 police are no longer responsible for reducing congestion and disruption on the county’s road network, the Suffolk force is currently in the process of selling off its traffic cones, as it no longer has a need for them.

This means if a community group wants to put out cones for an event, it has to apply to hire them from Suffolk County Council, which has taken over responsibility for traffic management from the police. However, as the local authority does not have enough cones to be placed across the county in advance of the relay, they will have to be moved from town to town as the procession progresses.

A council spokeswoman confirmed its highways department provided traffic cones for community events.

She said: “We ask for a �100 refundable deposit for the provision of the cones. We have recently experienced high demand for traffic cones and road signage due to Jubilee celebrations.

“However, we are confident our resources will be able to cover the ‘rolling road block’ happening as part of the Olympic Torch Relay.”

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If the council cannot meet the demand for a community event, the other option facing charities, town councils and local groups is to borrow them from a plant hire company.

Have you seen our Torch Relay section or had a go at our Olympic quiz? Click on the link at the top right corner.