Campaigners say speed limits on rural roads will lead to one million new road signs
26 June 2009

Country roads are set to be defaced by a million road signs under Government plans to cut speed limits, according to campaigners.

Ministers want local authorities to set speed limits on country roads wherever it is considered dangerous.

However, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) says that any new speed limits will have to be signalled every 300 yards, which will result in a million road signs being put up at a cost of £300 million.

Ralph Symth, Senior Transport Campaigner at CPRE, said: "The government 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 £300 million."

Mr Smyth said the speed limit on single lane rural roads should be reduced to 50mph while allowing local authorities discretion to keep their safest roads at 60mph. He also called for a 40mph limit on minor rural roads that are often dangerous but used by motorists as "rat runs" where it is considered safe to drive faster.

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"We need to make rural roads safer and all the evidence points to reducing speed limits as the most important single step," he said. "We need a common sense compromise between imposing a new blanket limit and a million new signs, which cash strapped local authorities are unlikely to introduce anytime soon.'

Drivers are three times as likely to die per mile driven on rural roads as on urban roads, according to official statistics.

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