SOLIHULL Council could get greater powers to lower local speed limits, under new government proposals.
Under the updated Department for Transport guidance, published last week, local authorities will be given greater freedom to introduce 20mph schemes in urban areas and cut speeds on rural roads with a history of accidents, to 40mph. Councils will also be encouraged to introduce variable speed limits outside of schools.
The borough already has a number of 20mph zones including a recently approved pilot scheme in Smith’s Wood.
Councillor Ted Richards, cabinet member for transport and highways, said current 20mph zones were ‘self-enforcing’, meaning police cannot intervene with drivers exceeding the limit up to 30mph. He added that he would be looking into whether the proposals gave police powers to act in these zones.
“It’s obviously something we need to look at,” he said. “My understanding is, that it’s a consultation that we’ve been asked to respond to by October.”
However, Julie Townsend, chief executive of road safety charity Brake, wants the Government to go even further to improve road safety.
“Ultimately we need to work towards 20mph being the norm in towns and villages, and no more than 40mph or 50mph on rural roads, to prevent needless tragedies and make our roads and communities safer for everyone.”
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