Rural roads could get 50mph limit

PROPOSALS to cut speed limits on rural roads should be considered, according to Suffolk's road chief.

Anthony Bond

PROPOSALS to cut speed limits on rural roads should be considered, according to Suffolk's road chief.

It has been revealed the Government is considering cutting speed limits on most rural single-carriageway roads from 60mph to 50mph.

Guy McGregor, Suffolk County Council's portfolio holder for roads and transport, said it was something which should be considered - although he questioned whether it would lead to a reduction in the number of people killed or seriously injured on the county's roads.

“Certainly the idea of taking away unrestricted signs and replacing them with a 50mph limit is something I have a great deal of sympathy for,” said Mr McGregor. “But having said that, I think accidents which are caused by speeding are as a result of excessive speeding which is way above the speed restriction.

“One wonders whether a restriction upon all of us in the rural areas to reduce speed from 60mph down to 50mph would have much impact upon the number of people killed or seriously injured.

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“It is a matter which needs to be thought through and it is something which I would be interested in considering.”

Currently the speed limit on almost all single carriageway roads outside of towns is set at 60mph, except at accident blackspots.

However, the road safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick is said to have been struck by figures showing that these parts of the country's road network were more prone to crashes.

Mr McGregor said in some parts of Suffolk reducing the speed limit would make sense.

“There are speed restrictions on the A140 of 50mph and yet motorists can come off this road and onto a B-road towards towns and villages like Eye and Debenham where the speed limit is 60mph and to many people this seems a strange anomaly.”

The AA has warned that there should be no blanket reduction and instead called for a “targeted approach”.

A Department for Transport spokeswoman said: “This is something that is being looked at, but no decisions have yet been taken. Any such proposal would have to be based on robust evidence of the impact on casualties, emissions and journey times. It would also need to consider issues of enforcement and public acceptability.”