Town and parish councils, whose members and residents believe vehicles are exceeding the speed limit through their community, are likely to be given an additional option to combat the problem from next month.
The County Council’s Executive will be asked at its meeting on 26 March to approve a change in its protocol that will allow town and parish councils and other neighbourhood groups to buy, install and maintain their own vehicle activated signs (VAS), which light up to alert approaching drivers that they are exceeding the speed limit.
The County Council currently invests in such equipment in areas where evidence shows that vehicle speeds present a risk to road safety. For those areas which are not assessed as meeting the necessary criteria, communities that nevertheless wish to remind drivers of a local speed limit do have the option to apply to lease such signs on a temporary basis from the County Council.
The change in policy will allow them to buy and erect vehicle activated signage subject to conditions set by the county’s highways engineers, who will advise on the right locations for signs from a safety and operational point of view. For the greatest, lasting effect, signs should be in place only for a limited period in any one location.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “Many parishes have expressed an interest in being able to purchase and install their own vehicle activated signs on the highway in their communities to deter speeding. Whilst there are concerns that the proliferation of such equipment on our highways may reduce the impact of the signs already in place where they are most needed, we have listened to requests from elected members and parishes, and last year began the process to change our policy and allow third party purchase of such signs.
“We will now consider our officers’ detailed report on the various stages involved in deploying third-party-owned vehicle activated signs on the public highway.”
Subject to the Executive’s decision, the new system would come into operation in April. The County Council’s existing system, under which parishes can pay for VAS through the council, would continue to run alongside the new scheme for a limited period.