Council says it will reveal schools 20mph plans 'soon'

Council officials say they are "close" to being able to provide a list of schools to have new measures to tackle speeding drivers.

Shropshire Council has been reviewing speed limits near schools
Shropshire Council has been reviewing speed limits near schools

Shropshire Council's highways officers have been reviewing 179 school sites across the county, to decide whether they need more restrictions on speeding to protect pupils.

The review has been ongoing since before the pandemic, with the council deciding in 2019 that it wanted to have 20mph limits outside every school in the area.

Now Steve Smith, assistant director for infrastructure at the authority, has given an update on the progress to councillors on the Communities Overview Committee – watched over by the Council leader, Councillor Lezley Picton, who had attended the meeting to listen in to the discussion.

He explained the authority has banded all schools into one of four categories: One – where there is no further action; two – where there is a signed only 20mph limit; three – where there is a variable 20mph limit which comes in at school start and finish times; four – a 20mph speed limit with additional measures.

Mr Smith said that after reviewing the sites they had 11 schools that had been chosen across the county as category four – where the most serious interventions are needed.

Another 19 schools are being considered in category three, and 42 in category two.

The rest will see no further action.

Pressed by committee member Councillor Dan Morris on when the public will know which schools were on which parts of the list, Mr Smith said: "I think we are close to being able to share a programme of which schools will be at which stage."

Councillor Duncan Kerr questioned whether it was problematic to have changing speed limits from 20mph to 30mph "speed up, speed down", instead of wider blanket area 20mph limits, such as that being trialled in Copthorne and Porthill in Shrewsbury.

He said that the changing limits were worse for the environment and required more focus and awareness from drivers.

Mr Smith said that the wider 20mph are being considered by the council, which would assess how the Shrewsbury trial works.

He said: "With regards to the 20mph zones, I agree there are other areas of the country that have looked quite specifically at 20mph zones.

"It is something as a council we are keeping a watching brief on."

He added that they "have not taken 20mph zones off the table completely" and that officials will be looking at the trial in Copthorne and Porthill to see what benefits and drawbacks the changes have had.

Mr Smith said that there was a shortage of funding across the country for the schemes – and wider highways maintenance in general.

He said: "For highways maintenance we are woefully underfunded from government for highways maintenance and even with the council putting in extra money we still habe a situation where we have a declining highways network."

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