A12: Campaign launched for 50mph speed limit

A CAMPAIGN has been launched for a lower speed limit on a busy stretch of the A12 on the Suffolk and Essex border in a bid to reduce serious accidents.

Over the last five years there have been 87 serious crashes, including fatalities, between the Four Sisters junction for East Bergholt and Gun Hill – a distance of less than three miles.

Now a new campaign spearheaded by Stratford St Mary Parish Council, local residents and Liberal Democrat councillors has been launched to try to persuade the Highways Agency to introduce a 50mph limit.

They have been told that reducing the speed over that section of road would increase journey times by just 35 seconds.

The campaign comes as Suffolk Constabulary also launches a new initiative against speeding across the county.

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The police campaign, led by TISPOL, the European Traffic Police Network, will run from Monday until the following Sunday, April 24, and will see increased checks and enforcement across Suffolk.

Speeding is one of the main causes of fatal and serious injury collisions. In 2010, 20 people died on Suffolk’s roads and in almost a third of these incidents, speeding was identified as being a contributory factor.

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Gun Hill resident Lorraine Clark, who moved to the area just over a year ago, said: “Since we have lived here, there have been three fatal accidents, one serious accident where the air ambulance attended and five slight injury accidents on the section of the A12 next to our house.

“It is extremely upsetting when someone has been seriously injured or killed.

“The police and councils do not capture accident data where there are no casualties, which means that the reported data does not entirely represent the total number of accidents and disruption caused on this section of road.

“Surely it is worth the extra 35 seconds of journey time if it reduces the number of accidents and saves lives.”

Figures obtained from Suffolk and Essex County Councils show the number of serious accidents on the 11-mile stretch between the Copdock Mill junction and Birchwood Road near Ardleigh over the last five years was 185.

Of those 87 – or 47% – were in the 2.75-mile stretch where the campaigners want a speed limit.

Stratford St Mary Parish Council chairman Bill Davies said: “Look at what happened on the A14 at the Haughley Bends. When the speed limit was introduced and then the cameras were installed the number of accidents fell dramatically.

“This is also a dangerous stretch of road and we would like to see similar action taken here.”

Liberal Democrat leader on the county council Kathy Pollard has written to the Highways Agency to ask for a speed limit on that stretch of road.

And South Suffolk MP Tim Yeo has also expressed concerns about the road to the agency.

A spokeswoman for the agency said they were unable to comment on politicians’ statements during the run-up to the local elections, but confirmed that a letter had been sent to Mr Yeo about safety on the road.

Editorial comment _ Page 36

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