Posted: 20.02.20 at 14:03 by Daniel Mumby - Local Democracy Reporter
All schools in Wells will have advisory 20mph speed limits in force outside them by 2022, according to Somerset County Council.
Council leader David Fothergill has committed to providing £1.5 million over the next 12 months to ensuring such limits could be put in place for half of the county’s schools – including academies and private schools.
The other half will have their limits put in place in the following financial year, with a similar amount of money being made available in next year’s budget.
The council said the plan for which schools would get the new speed limits first was “still being finalised”, with more details being published in the coming months.
Mr Fothergill announced the change before the full council budget meeting in Taunton yesterday morning (February 19).
He said: “Let’s do something about it and let’s do it now. We can improve the lives of children in our area.”
Reducing vehicle speeds to 20mph outside a school (instead of 30mph) reduces braking distance and means both the driver and any pedestrians are less likely to be hurt in the event of a crash.
The new limits will be supported by cycle training through the government’s Bikeability programme, as well as road safety training in schools.
Mr Fothergill said he would work with the new Avon and Somerset police and crime commissioner after the election in May to ensure these new limits were enforced.
Wells councillor Tessa Munt said: “There is a large independent school in my division which has an invitation for people to speed up in front of it, not slow down.
"I take it we are not going to discriminate about academies and so forth?”
Ms Munt subsequently clarified on Twitter she was referring to the Wells Cathedral School, saying it was “ludicrous” that a 20mph limit was not already in place on The Liberty.
Mr Fothergill responded: “We need to look after children, whether they are in a private school, a local authority school or an academy. We need to look after our young people.”
Mr Fothergill also committed that the council would continue its “biggest school-building programme in a generation”, with £46 million of capital spending being allocated towards new or expanding schools this year.