Every Shropshire school to have 20mph speed limit by 2025

New 20mph limits will be imposed on roads around all Shropshire schools by 2025 after councillors said the proposed 10-year time frame was far too long.

The council approved plans for speed limits outside schools
The council approved plans for speed limits outside schools

The move will affect the 126 of the county’s 150 schools which do not already sit within 20mph zones, and will also include a review of measures like parking arrangements to improve overall road safety.

A report presented at a full council meeting on Thursday set out time and cost estimations for the scheme, which was supported by members in December 2019 following a motion from Councillor Dan Morris.

It said the project could cost up to £2.9 million and take five to seven years to complete, if work was to begin in the 2022/23 financial year.

But this was rejected by Councillor Steve Davenport, portfolio holder for highways, who proposed that it should be completed by May 2025.

This was supported by councillors, though a proposed amendment by Councillor Tony Parsons asking for completion by 2023 was defeated.

The report, by highways manager Steve Brown, also looked into the possibility of implementing ‘school streets’, by banning cars from roads with schools on at drop-off and collection times.

The idea was supported by members following a motion tabled by Councillor David Vasmer at a full council meeting in July.

Councillor Vasmer said he was disappointed that school streets had not been implemented sooner, by using moveable road blocks and current legislation to introduce traffic orders.

Councillor Kevin Turley said it was essential to get police support in enforcing the speed limits, and Councillor Roger Evans suggested the Police and Crime Commissioner could be approached for funding.

Other funding options, including community infrastructure levy (CIL) payments will also be investigated.

Members unanimously supported progressing the scheme with the revised five-year time frame.

The report said there were 11 accidents outside schools in the last three years, according to police data, three of which were deemed ‘serious’. In total there were 22 casualties, including seven pedestrians of whom four were children.

Six of the reported accidents happened at peak times, resulting in six casualties, all of whom were pedestrians and four of whom were children.

The report said “significant investment” would need to be made on consulting with each school and those who live near buy, and collecting up-to-date traffic data. It said a dedicated member of staff would be needed to deliver the scheme, taking resources away from other projects.

The councillors’ approval means consultation will now begin with each school, and the council will begin to gather traffic data for each site.

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