Drivers across County Durham could be hit with further restrictions outside schools after councillors backed a £1m scheme to cut speed.
Members of Durham County Council’s cabinet approved the proposals which could see areas targeted around schools in Durham, Chester-le-Street, Consett, Stanley and Peterlee.
Councillors have launched a consultation which could see the reduced limit enforced outside 34 schools.
Cabinet members were advised creating blanket 20mph across the county would be ‘ineffective’ and officers instead outlined proposals which will see the most dangerous areas targeted by the new limits.
While the schools are already in 30mph limits councillors were presented with information issued by the Department for Transport which showed for every 1mph speed limits are reduced the number of accidents can fall by up to 6%.
Councillor Brian Stephens, Durham County Council’s Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “Although road casualty numbers continue to fall in County Durham, new national guidance gives us the opportunity to introduce measures to limit speed in built-up areas.
“We are proposing to implement these measures on roads around those schools where the accident rate is double the average.
“Our aim is not only to reduce the number of accidents, but also to promote a healthy and active lifestyle by encouraging people to cycle or walk instead of using the car.”
Only two such zones and one limit have been introduced in the county during the past 10 years.
It is estimated the scheme could cost around £952,850 to put in place.
However, the authority has reassessed its policy following a review by the authority’s Safer and Stronger Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Ron Hogg, police and crime commissioner for County Durham, welcomed the news.
He said: “I welcome the County Council’s decision to implement 20mph zones around selected schools across County Durham.
“National evaluations have shown that blanket schemes do not work and many have been disbanded.
“The approach adopted by the County Council is considered, intelligence led and aimed at protecting our young people.
“This is a significant step forward in road safety and is thus to be applauded.”
School’s included in the council consultation are:
North Durham Academy
Greenland Community Primary
Bullion Lane Primary
Park View Community School (Church Chare)
The Hermitage School
St Cuthbert’s RC VA Primary
Shotley Bridge Infant
Consett Infant Sch & Nursery Unit
Shotley Bridge Junior
St Patrick’s RC VA Primary
St Joseph’s RC VA Primary, Durham
King James 1 Academy
Etherley Lane Nursery
Etherley Lane Primary
Bishop Barrington School
St Anne’s CE (Cont) Primary
Woodhouse Community Primary
St Mary’s RC VA Primary
Sugar Hill Primary
Dene House Primary
Dene Community School of Technology
Acre Rigg Infant
Seaham Trinity Primary
New Seaham Primary
Seaham School of Technology
Rosa Street Primary
King Street Primary