Plans to introduce 20mph limits outside Northumberland schools

Road safety outside schools is a priority for the county council.

Road safety outside schools is a priority for the county council.

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Up to £1million is being invested by Northumberland County Council over the coming years to introduce 20mph limits outside schools.

Around £200,000 has already been allocated in this year’s Local Transport Plan to drive forward the safety scheme. Similar amounts will be allocated over the next three to five years until the programme is complete.

During this year, the council is concentrating on schools where known issues exist, for example, where drivers are going too fast. The programme is currently in the design stage and will start being rolled out on the ground before Christmas.

Coun Ian Swithenbank, cabinet member for local services, said: “Residents are rightly concerned about the volume of vehicles travelling at high speed through their communities.

“Slower speeds bring obvious benefits to places and people – particularly outside schools. They help to reduce the risk and severity of collisions and the reduced speed makes it easier to cross roads.

“The public have told us they want more 20mph limits around schools and we’re investing significant resources, at locations where this is appropriate, to make it happen as soon as possible.”

Coun Anne Dale, chairman of the council’s walking and cycling board, added: “Evidence shows 20mph speed limits improve safety around schools. We want all our children to be safe and encourage walking or cycling wherever possible and the introduction of 20mph limits and other safety measures will be a great help.”

Alongside the 20mph limits programme, the council has also introduced a new First Response initiative to schools where there is a history of traffic problems. First Response brings together council officers with the headteacher, the local county councillor and a parent governor in finding solutions and agreeing responsibility for actions.

Earlier this month, it was reported that a new parking enforcement vehicle is being deployed at Northumberland schools in response to road-safety fears, caused by speeding and inconsiderate parking.