County Council Ignores Police Opposition to Speed Limit Cuts
...Except On the Road With the Accidents!
Warwickshire County Council is pushing ahead with plans to reduce speed limits on almost every rural A and B road in the county, despite strong opposition from the police and members of the public. But they aren't cutting the limit on the Fosse Way — the only road where the accident record is bad enough to warrant a full safety report in their review.
This is of national importance because Warwickshire is one of the first local authorities to review speed limits under the requirements of the DfT's Circular 1/2006 "New guidance for setting local speed limits", due to be completed by 2011. This document legitimises moves from councils to cut speed limits on the flimsiest of premises, including suggesting that limits should be cut to the average speed of traffic.
Despite the usual low profile consultation, the proposed 125 speed limit reductions have received 40 formal objections, many from the police. However, a council spokesperson has indicated that the views of residents and councilors take precedence over the opinions of the police.
But DfT Circular 1/2006 states: "It is important that traffic authorities and police forces work closely together in determining, or considering, any change to speed limits."
co-ordinator, Paul Biggs, said:
"I'm appalled that police expert opinion has been relegated to fourth place behind the vested interests of one or two vociferous and ignorant residents. As the police have pointed out, setting the speed limit using "mean" or "average" speed of traffic bears no relation to the safe maximum speed in ideal conditions, which is the true road safety function of a speed limit. All this can achieve is to discredit and undermine speed limits and to make criminals of the safest drivers on the road, who are statistically in the second ten percent of the spread of speeds."
The proposed speed limit reductions can be viewed on the Warwickhsire County Council website
This link shows that the only road report under the speed limit review which Warwickshire's safety professionals are prepared to put their names to (The Fosse Way) is pretty much the only road in Warwickshire where a speed limit reduction HAS NOT been proposed:
"The sections of the B4455 and the A429 (Fosse Way) have been investigated as part of the Speed Limit Review in order that the existing speed limit is better complied with and to address a number of sections of the road which are experiencing high numbers of crashes."
Jo Edwards, Senior Road Safety Engineer, said
"As a result of a crash analysis exercise, the recommendations include addressing maintenance issues such as cat's eyes and improved signing and lining. Bends will be treated with additional bend warning signs and will lead to the road appearing more consistent to road users. A number of other safety improvements are also being considered which include colour road surfacing and flashing vehicle activated signs."
"It is clear to anyone who understands how to drive a car that the Warwickshire plans are badly thought out and fail to stand up to the most elementary sanity check", said the ABD's Nigel Humphries. "The engineers have performed this sanity check on the Fosse Way and concluded that cutting the speed limit is not the way forwards. Since this is the only evidence of proper investigation shown, with the other roads simply listed for limit cuts without justification, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that this is the only road where the job has been done properly. The rest is just politically-motivated knee-jerk nonsense."
In recent years, Warwickshire has already endured a plethora of speed limit reductions below what would be objectively considered to be reasonable. The accompanying increase in the use of automated speed limit enforcement has resulted in a 16-fold increase in speeding fines issued in the county between 1997 and 2006. There will be a further period of "consultation" prior to implementation by March 2009, but the ABD would urge Warwickshire County Council to listen to their own engineers and apply constructive, common sense solutions to road safety problems across the county.
The B5000 in North Warwickshire is just one of the many roads that the county council intends to reduce the speed limit upon. This road is entirely rural in nature and the reduction is totally unjustified.
© ABD 2008
This stretch of the A4097 runs dead straight across Kingsbury Water Park and has no houses nor entrances of any kind along it. A little used footway is seperated from the road by a strip of grass. Yet the council want to reduce the speed limit from 60 to 50. The road is well used by petrol tankers from the nearby fuel depot, these are limited by law to 40mph, causing the average speed of traffic on the road to be below 60mph. Yet this is clearly not a reason to reduce the speed limit, highlighting the crass stupidity of the DfT's advice.
© ABD 2008