Leeds plans to lower speed limits on all local roads ‘would create a forest of signs’

Leeds City Council has unveiled plans to impose 40mph and 30mph speed limits on all rural roads between the Leeds boundary and Collingham unless it receives objections.

Over a year ago, very similar plans provoked a heavily critical press reaction and the condemnation of the opposition Conservative party on the council though Leeds Highways claim the plans are in reaction to concerned residents and unnamed businesses.

Some people in the area including Parish Councillor Andrew Batty are concerned at the plans will ‘urbanise’ the surrounding countryside, with an adverse effect on the rural landscape.

At the heart of this fear is the fact that speed limits have to be accompanied by frequent speed limit repeater signs to make the speed limit effective and the need to erect literally hundreds of metal posts with signs every few hundred metres on rural roads is causing concern to many.

The problem is that where there are street lights and buildings there does not need to be lots of 30mph signs since the very fact that these buildings and street lamps are there is accepted as evidence that the 30mph limit is in operation unless separately signed.

Similarly, a rural road is judged to be the default national limit (60mph maximum) unless otherwise signed, so to enforce limits of 30mph or 40mph outside of a built up area requires frequent repeater signs.

Once speed limits are reduced, planning applications for housing and other developments become easier since they would front a 40mph road and not a national limit one.

Leeds City Highways has all local roads in its sights including the full length of Wike Ridge Lane from East Keswick through Wike to Sllaid Hill which would become a 40 zone with a 30 zone stretch.

Objections to the plans must be made in to legal.development@leeds.gov.uk before 19th March quoting reference A76/JL. Arguments against need to concentrate on the reason why a lower limit is inappropriate rather than the affect on the landscape.