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17/10/07 – 20mph speed limits must be in the right places, say schools

Dale Heenan
  • On October 17, 2007

First printed in the Swindon Adverftiser 17th October 2007

 HEADTEACHER has urged caution over national calls for blanket 20mph zones in built-up areas.

Scott Sissons, headteacher of Dorcan Technology College, has said that although they are a good idea in principle, the placing of zones needs to be carefully thought out.

Since the start of term, three pupils at the Dorcan Way school have been involved in two road traffic accidents on their way to school.

The main gates to the school are surrounded by reduced speed limits of 20mph, chicanes and speed bumps but Mr Sissons said the vast majority of pupils did not arrive at the school through the main entrance, making the traffic calming measures almost useless.

“You have to be careful they are going in the right kind of places,” he said.

“Both the incidents this term have been actually on Dorcan Way which is a 40mph zone, and I have already spoken to highways about some issues there, especially with the lights.
What do you think? Should there be 20mph speed limits outside schools and in residential areas?
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“Personally, I would think 20mph on Dorcan Way would be impractical, but from our point of view there are times during the day when hundreds of children are coming to and from the school and at those times it would be appropriate.”

The national proposal has been put forward by Government advisory panel Pacts, the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport.

They recommend introducing more 20mph zones in built-up areas, as well as new speed cameras to catch people breaking those limits in a new time-over-distance system.

Cllr Phil Young

Coun Phil Young, together with his Covingham and Nythe ward members Glen Smith and Dale Heenan, was involved in a campaign earlier this year to have speed humps removed from their area. He said that 20mph zones were not the answer if used alone and in strict isolation.

“My personal belief is that 20mph zones are not the answer in terms of a broad brush policy across the country,” he said.

“I’m very supportive of them outside schools and doing as much as we can in terms of road safety in areas where large groups of children gather.

“We need to be a bit more sophisticated in how we think about traffic and speeds.”

The Pacts report also includes all new residential developments being subjected to a “pint of milk test” to ensure residents can travel to a local shop in less than 10 minutes without using a car.

It also advocates the introduction of hand-held computers to police forces to allow on-the-spot driving licence checks.

Comment from Cllr Glenn Smith

Cllr Glenn Smith

What has not said about this is that 20mph zones need to be self enforcing.

This means physical measures to keep the speed down (humps etc). This means the local council out of the Council tax would need to spend millions trying to achieve this.

At 30mph the Police can enforce speeding cars.

This is just a Labour Government attempt to save money in the Police service and force hard working residents to have huge hikes in their council tax.

They should be ashamed of themselves. It is about time this government stopped pushing more services on to the local council without any money to pay for them. Yet another Labour stealth tax!

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