Road safety boost to tackle speeding drivers in Norfolk

Communities across Norfolk with a proven track record of battling to get speeding drivers to obey the law look set for a share in a �100k boost to make the county's roads safer.

Norfolk County Council is proposing the one-off road safety investment to make money available for signs which flash messages at drivers who approach hazards too quickly, or who break the speed limit.

Towns and villages which have been investing their own money in road safety schemes, or active in schemes such as Community Speedwatch, will be at the top of the list for the vehicle-activated signs.

Graham Plant, Norfolk County Council's cabinet member for planning and transportation, said: 'Our Big Conversation consultation told us that people value the county council's road safety work in Norfolk.

'We are keen to continue that work, and, at a time when money is extremely tight, one of the best ways to do that is to support and encourage communities that are already active in road safety.

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'These signs can be used at junctions, bends or to support speed limits, and we know they are effective, especially among those driving particularly fast.

'We have enough funding for nearly 20 signs, and first consideration will be given to communities that have been the most active.'

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The council and highway engineers will work with parish and town councils to decide where signs should go, taking into account the previous accident record, and the extent the local community has invested time and money working with the council and partners to cut road casualties.

The council hopes to have a list of suitable locations within the next few weeks, after consultation with Norfolk police.

But Holt in north Norfolk and Upwell in west Norfolk, which have long tried to combat speeding drivers, are likely to be among those to benefit.

Prue Lester, chairman of Upwell Parish Council, said: 'We are thrilled to be involved in this project. Upwell is on a main 'A' road linking the A47 and A10 and the parish suffers greatly from the weight of commuter and HGV traffic.

'Speeding through the village is a constant concern to residents and is one of the issues we receive most enquiries and complaints about as a council.'We have been running a Speedwatch group for the past three years and in certain locations almost 50pc of traffic is travelling in excess of the 30mph speed limit.

'A permanent vehicle activated sign will be a reminder for both local and 'through' traffic that drivers need to be far more aware of the speed at which they are travelling.

'The Speed Awareness Messages and police campaigns are very successful in bringing speeds down but are ultimately short lived.

'A permanent vehicle activated sign will be a reminder for both local and 'through' traffic that drivers need to be far more aware of the speed at which they are travelling.

'We understand that traffic calming initiatives are extremely costly and this is probably the most cost effective way of bringing about a real change in driving habits through our rural villages, so we fully support Norfolk County Council's plans to install these signs in areas where problems have already been identified.'

The average cost of a vehicle activated sign is between �6,000 to �8,000, including installation of the sign, powering them and a contribution towards future maintenance costs.

The signs are only triggered by drivers exceeding the posted speed limit or a safe speed for the particular road conditions.

Studies in Norfolk and elsewhere have assessed the effect of the signs on speed and on the number of accidents which causes injuries.

The council says those studies show they are very effective in reducing speeds, particularly those of the faster drivers.

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