Notts: Rivals clash over 20mph zone scheme for schools

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County councillors have again clashed over Labour’s plans to introduce 20mph speed limits outside schools during term times.

At the latest meeting of the full council, the Conservatives, who abstained from the original vote where the motion was passed to implement the scheme, accused Labour of favouring their own electorial divisions and not conducting a proper survey into the scheme.

But Labour say the Conservatives’ actions are little more than sour grapes because they come up with the idea first.

Conservative transport spokesman Coun Richard Jackson tabled a question asking how many of the 50 schools surveyed had average speeds below 20mph outside their gates between 8am and 9am, and how may have average speeds above that figure.

And after the meeting, Coun Jackson said: “Improving safety outside of schools is vital and 20mph speed limit signs can make sense where traffic is speeding, but the way Labour councillors have selected the first 50 schools makes a total mockery of their election pledge.”

“We now know they plan to install signs outside at least 23 schools where the mean speed of traffic is less than 20mph, including two where it is just 12mph. How can these be prioritised over schools on fast main roads?”

“The council should start with the schools where there is a real speed problem or known road safety issues.”

“Labour councillors have contrived a selection method based on deprivation to favour their own electoral divisions.”

“We were told last week that speed surveys had been conducted outside all 50 of the selected schools, but I’ve since discovered that simply isn’t true. A number of schools were not surveyed.”

“At a time when council resources are stretched, this policy does not sound like a sensible use of £150,000 to me.”

“Instead of wasting money implementing election pledges which were badly thought through, the Labour administration would have been better sticking to the Conservatives’ previous policy which examined the different challenges outside each individual school and designed safety measures to match.”

But Coun Kevin Greaves, chairman of the transport and highways committee hit back at Coun Jackson, saying: “Is Coun Jackson trying to a price on a child’s safety? It rather seems he is.”

“I’m very sorry Coun Jackson cannot support this but the reason he won’t because he didn’t think of it.”

“If he had, he would be totally behind it but because he didn’t, he has a problem.”

“We have spoken with teachers, the police and parents and all of them said this was what they wanted and so that’s why we are introducing it.”

“We have conducted a study of schools and the schools we have chosen to be the first ones to have this scheme implemented are just that, the first ones.”

“It will be rolled across the whole of Notts in due course.”

“Last year, 10 children were injured within 50 yards of the school gates and that is totally unacceptable.”

“If this scheme reduces that number by even just one, it will be a success.”