Schools across County Durham benefiting from speed reduction scheme

Councillors will receive an update on a successful scheme to reduce speed limits outside of schools next week.

Durham County Council received funding from Public Health to introduce 66 20mph limit zones near schools across the county.

The Slow to 20 for Safer Streets project is now in its final year and when the council’s Cabinet meets on Wednesday, 14 November, members will hear that 52 of the schemes have been completed.

By the time this part of the project comes to an end, 74 schools will have benefited, as some schools share sites or are in close proximity to each other.

This is in addition to 30 schemes that have been completed thanks to funding from local members’ neighbourhood budgets and individual schools. A further eight schemes are now in development and more could follow if funding is secured from councillors’ neighbourhood budgets, Area Action Partnerships, town and parish councils or schools.

The information on 20mph zones is part of an updated Speed Management Strategy, which the council has developed in partnership with Durham Constabulary.

The strategy provides a framework for setting appropriate speed limits and addressing speeding problems across County Durham. It is based on current Government legislation, guidance and best practice, and considers a range of issues and approaches to ensuring County Durham’s road are safe for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

This includes a comprehensive education and awareness programme delivered through the County Durham and Darlington Road Safety Partnership and Durham Constabulary’s Community Speed Watch initiative.

Councillors will be asked to note the updated strategy and approve plans for a six week-public consultation on the document.

Councillor Brian Stephens, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “It is fantastic to see 20mph limits being introduced outside of the schools where they are needed most.

“This not only improves road safety but it encourages people to walk and cycle, which has wider health and environmental benefits.

“The Speed Management Strategy demonstrates our commitment to working with the police to improve road safety across the whole of the county.

“Education is a key part of this. If we can make drivers understand the potentially lethal consequences of speeding they are far more likely to slow down.”