London, 5 Mar 2001.
For immediate release.

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Press Release

ABD Attacks Half Baked Rural Speed Limit Reductions
And Shows How Safety Loses out to Anti-Car Politics in the CPRE
The self styled Council for the Protection of Rural England has recently attacked local authorities for their slowness in implementing 30mph village speed limit schemes as pioneered in Suffolk in 1996.

The ABD supports appropriate speed limits in villages, set according to the sensible guidelines issued by the old Department of Transport, but unreservedly condemns Suffolk type schemes supported by the CPRE, since implemented in other areas such as West Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Worcestershire.

"These schemes are road safety nonsense," says the ABD's Nigel Humphries. "They introduce 30mph limits all over the place that are mostly unnecessary either they are far lower than the safe speed to travel, or they are put in places where it isn't even possible to do 30mph. Either way, they do nothing for road safety."

Because the majority of the public do not support these limits, it is deemed necessary to back them up garish reflective signs, acres of ugly red tarmac and even what is laughably referred to as "traffic calming" in a doomed effort to browbeat people into compliance.

"This desecration of our rural road network is a disgrace," continues Humphries. "This is exactly the sort of urbanisation of the countryside that the CPRE should be resisting rather than demanding more of."

But this quotation from Paul Hamblin of CPRE does rather more than hint at the real motives behind the CPRE campaign:

"Local authorities have been found to be lack-lustre in their response to the Government and too many continue only to focus on accident blackspots and ignore the wider problems caused by speed."
So, rather than concentrate on road safety, Mr Hamblin wants to redirect local authority resources away from accident blackspots and on to blanket restrictions to support his own pet political ideals, which all but the most blinkered and hypocritical rural motorists reject.

"We have seen the result of this politicisation of road safety in Suffolk, the first county to introduce this ridiculous policy," says ABD Chairman Brian Gregory. "Until 450 new 30mph limits were introduced, road casualties in Suffolk were falling steadily. Since then, they have risen, something that all the statistical chicanery of Suffolk County Council cannot disguise."

The CPRE then goes on to say that many local authorities are "relying on old fashioned approaches to road safety" and to criticise the police for "giving insufficient priority to the enforcement of lower speed limits."

Perhaps that's because these "old fashioned" methods actually save lives, but that is clearly not a priority in the CPRE.

Perhaps, too, the police have got better things to do than pointlessly antagonise the local population without any road safety benefit. The CPRE should realise that wasting police time is a criminal offence!

The ABD says that these 30mph schemes should be stopped immediately, and limits in those already implemented should be returned immediately to DETR guidelines supported only by conventional speed limit signs.


Notes for Editors