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Lights go out on 20mph zones

Part-time 20mph zone outside St Michael's CE Primary School, Preston Rd, Grimsargh

Part-time 20mph zone outside St Michael's CE Primary School, Preston Rd, Grimsargh

Mandatory 20mph zones outside 12 schools are to be scrapped – because the signs are not working properly.

Lancashire County Council brought in LED signs that light up during school pick- up and drop off hours three years ago in an effort to reduce the number of youngsters involved in accidents.

But now a report to the cabinet has concluded that the technology, now out of warranty, is “unreliable, with widespread problems”.

The report recommends introducing new signs that only advise – rather than instruct – drivers to drop their speed to 20mph.

The new signs will cost £30,000.

The installation of the original scheme had cost about £55,000, although County Hall bosses were unable to provide the initial costs of the signs to be replaced.

The report to cabinet states: “If the signs are not working properly, it invalidates the legality of the speed limit and negatively 
impacts upon enforcement of the order.

“All 12 sites have experienced operational issues, with the sites in Grimsargh and Wrightington now being inoperable.

“There has been a high level of concern from local residents at all sites due to the signs malfunctioning, in particular the site in Grimsargh.

“The continued inconsistent operation of these signs leaves the council susceptible to criticism and undermines the work of the 20mph speed limit programme.

“The problems occurring could also undermine the other 20mph speed limits by reducing compliance.”

Susie Charles, county councillor for Lancaster Rural East, responded to the report, indicating that she was happy with the proposed approach.

But Kim Snape, county councillor for Chorley Rural East, has objected to the plans for outside Abbey Village Primary School.

She said: “We get a lot of complaints about speeding on Bolton Road, Abbey Village. To make it advisory would make the issue worse and I suspect you will get complaints from the parish council too. People have been killed in the past on that road. It is very heavily residential.”

Paul Binks, road and transport safety manager for Lancashire County Council, said: “Ensuring the design of 20mph speed limits outside schools is consistent should improve road safety by making the way they operate as clear as possible and avoiding any potential for confusion.

“In practice there is no difference between how drivers respond to the different types of sign and whenever necessary we will continue to work with the police and schools to engage drivers so that communities can realise the full benefits of the 20mph limits.”

It will cost £2,500 per site to replace the part- time mandatory sign with the advisory ones – a total of £30,000 – offset by the cost of maintaining the signs which is currently estimated at £5,000 per year.

 

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