Lights to go out on 20mph zone signs

Part-time 20mph zone outside St Michael's CE Primary School, Preston Rd, Grimsargh
Part-time 20mph zone outside St Michael's CE Primary School, Preston Rd, Grimsargh

Mandatory 20mph zones outside 12 Lancashire schools, including Garstang Community Acadamy and Grimsargh St Michael’s CE Primary School are to be scrapped – because the signs are not working properly.

Lancashire County Council brought in LED signs that light up during school pick- up and drop off hours three years ago in an effort to reduce the number of youngsters involved in accidents.

But a report to the cabinet has concluded the technology, now out of warranty, is “unreliable, with widespread problems”.

The report recommends introducing new signs that only advise – rather than instruct – drivers to drop their speed to 20mph.

The installation of the original scheme cost about £55,000, although County Hall bosses were unable to provide the initial costs of the signs needing to be replaced.

The report states: “If the signs are not working properly, it invalidates the legality of the speed limit and negatively impacts upon enforcement of the order. All 12 sites have experienced operational issues, with the site in Grimsargh now being inoperable. There has been a high level of concern from local residents at all sites due to the signs malfunctioning, in particular in Grimsargh.

“The continued inconsistent operation of these signs leaves the council susceptible to criticism and undermines the work of the 20mph speed limit programme. The problems occurring could also undermine the other 20mph speed limits by reducing compliance.”

Paul Binks, LCC road and transport safety manager said: “In practice there is no difference between how drivers respond to the different types of sign and whenever necessary we will continue to work with the police and schools to engage drivers so communities can realise the full benefits of the 20mph limits. It will cost a total of £30,000 to replace the part-time mandatory sign with the advisory ones, which will be offset by the cost of maintaining the signs, currently estimated at £5,000 per year.