Lowering speed limits on rural roads could ‘deface the countryside’, distract drivers and cost up to £300m, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) said on Wednesday.
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Enforcing lower limits would require as many as a million new signposts in the countryside, the CPRE added, as so-called ‘repeaters’ are supposed to appear every 300 yards or so to remind drivers of the limit.
The government has so far decided against a blanket reduction in the national speed limit, but it is encouraging local authorities to consider introducing lower limits.
Speed limit signs
CPRE senior transport campaigner Ralph Smyth said: ‘After deciding against a blanket 50mph national speed limit, the government wants to encourage local authorities to consider introducing lower speed limits locally, which require repeater signs about every 300 yards.
‘But it has not thought through the national costs and implications. Its piecemeal plans could require a million repeater speed limit signs that would deface the countryside and distract drivers while costing £300m.’
The CPRE said it preferred to see a reduction in the national speed limit for rural single-carriageway roads to 50mph, with local authorities being given discretion to keep their safest roads at 60mph. The campaign added that it wanted to see powers to introduce 40mph zones on minor rural roads, based on the success of 20mph zones on residential roads.
Earlier this month a poll found 83% of British drivers opposed plans to cut the national speed limit. But the Department for Transport said a 10mph drop could save around 250 lives a year.
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