New speed limist set to go ahead

TOUGH new speed limits look likely to be brought in on one of the region's most notorious roads which has claimed scores of lives.The new speed limits for the Suffolk stretch of the A140 are being debated by county councillors on the Executive Committee this week.

TOUGH new speed limits look likely to be brought in on one of the region's most notorious roads which has claimed scores of lives.

The new speed limits for the Suffolk stretch of the A140 are being debated by county councillors on the Executive Committee this week.

Councillors are being asked to support a 50mph limit on the road for 12 months, as an experiment, with lower limits where the road passes through certain villages. This includes a 40mph limit through Brome, Oakley and Thrandeston.

It is hoped the new restrictions will ease the road's appalling safety record which has seen more than 80 deaths in just over 20 years.


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But the scheme had been met with criticism by Norfolk transport bosses who claimed it would cause more accidents and a slow road.

In a report to the committee, director of environment and transport Lucy Robinson said the speed limits are being considered to help make the road safer and improve people's quality of life on the A140.

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She said if councillors support the new limits, it is hoped they should be in force from the spring and Suffolk councillors who had looked at the issue on the rights of way sub-committee felt that lowering the speed limit would reduce accidents.

Peter Monk, a lead councillor on the executive committee said: "A few minutes on people's journey time can potentially save lives, I do not understand Norfolk's concerns.

"We have got to make the road safe. The real responsibility is down to the driver, roads do not have accidents, people who use them do.

"Ninety five per cent of accident s are down to driver error and innocent people get involved and may lose their lives. People just have to learn to leave a bit earlier and drive a little bit slower.''

Julian Swainson, the other councillor charged with leading on the A140 speed debate, said speed and accidents are inextricably linked.

He said: "Where you control speed, you reduce accidents. It's a road where people tend to travel very fast, there are a lot of junctions and a high accident rate.''

But in Norfolk some county councillors think Suffolk's initiative is the wrong thing to do. Adrian Gunson, a cabinet member for transport and planning with Norfolk County Council, thinks it is unfortunate to have speed limits on such a long section of a major route.

He does not think lower speed limits will solve the problem, other than as a very short term step, and believes a lot of accidents are down to driver frustration with the tailbacks caused by heavy traffic and slow moving cars, lorries and farm vehicles.

He wants to see right turning lanes at junctions for the villages and dual carriageway bypasses for the larger communities.

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