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Limits could change


Speed limits could be cut on dangerous roads as a result of a Government-required review.

Nottinghamshire County Council is reviewing all 550 miles of its 84 A and B class roads, as required by the Department for Transport before 2011.

A 2006 circular, called Setting Local Speed Limits, requires the county council, as traffic authority, to carry out the review, which could include both increases and decreases to limits.

Changes could include cutting the speed limit from 60mph to 50mph on single carriageway A and B roads in a bid to help cut accidents.

Villages with speed limits higher than 30mph that have not yet been addressed in the village speed review will be considered, along with extensions to speed limits and buffer zones.

The four-year programme has been prioritised according to the recommendations of the county’s Accident Investigation Unit and highway managers.

Nottinghamshire Police and all councillors have been contacted for their views.

The review began in March. The first block includes the A616 between Newark and Ollerton, and the A614.

The A17 Newark to Sleaford road is included in the 2008-9 section, and the A617 Newark to Mansfield road is scheduled for 2009-10.

This road has already been reduced to a 50mph zone from the British Sugar roundabout to Farnsfield after a spate of fatal accidents.

Minor A and B class roads will complete the scheme in 2010-11.

The county councillor for Newark west, Mr Keith Girling,said most accidents were as aresult of bad driving, not necessarily excessive speed.

He found it ridiculous that the A617 had a 50mph limit, but small one-track roads leading off it had a 60mph limit.

He said: “I think our roads are quite safe but if a vehicle travels at 45mph in a 50mph zone, people will still break the speed limit to overtake it.

“Motorists are often confused by speed limits changing several times in a short stretch. It needs to be standardised, but I do not subscribe to lowering the national speed limit to 50mph.”

A spokesman for the county council said a report would be made to the council’s cabinet at the end of the financial year.

Within that any recommendations for changes to speed limits would be presented to the portfolio holder, Mrs Stella Smedley, for consideration.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency, responsible for trunk roads like the A46, saidlimits were constantly under review but there were no plans to reduce the speed limit on the stretch near Newark.

Lincolnshire County Council recently rejected proposals to lower the limit from 60mph to 50mph on all its rural roads.

Councillors and highways officers feared it could encourage faster driving on slow, winding country roads, and would cost taxpayers millions in new signs.

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