DALC’s County Committee considers policy matters relating to parish and town councils in Devon and is considering the issue of speed on rural roads. The County Committee has set up a Task and Finish Group to gather more information, and is conducting an online survey to gather the experiences of local councils in Devon. Responses to this survey will inform any future DALC policy position in this area.
The issue of speed on rural roads, especially single-track lanes, is one that often concerns local communities. Vehicles moving at high speeds on narrow roads are not only a potential safety hazard to other road users but can discourage active travel methods such as walking and cycling. For these reasons and others it is not uncommon for parish and town councils to request a lower speed limits for these roads near their communities, or to propose that all rural roads of a certain type (usually single track lanes) should have lower speed limits.
Speed limits are a matter of national policy and Devon County Council operates within the Department for Transport’s regulations. The national policy is clear that on rural roads the national speed limit of 60mph should apply, that it is a maximum not a desirable speed, and that road users should moderate their speed according to local conditions. Local variations to the national speed limit are regarded as confusing to drivers and likely to raise, rather than lower, the risk of collisions. As such, exceptions to the national speed limit on rural roads are only applied to stretches of road with a significant reliable record of speed related accidents. It would require a change of national policy to allow for lower speed limits on rural roads within Devon, and to affect this change will require long and extensive discussion with both national and local bodies.
As such, any decision to adopt a policy position regarding speed limits on rural roads should not be taken lightly, and we would like to gather as many views as possible on this issue from our members before making any further decisions, and would be grateful if you could complete the survey.
The closing date for the survey is Friday 6 May 2022, and if you have any technical problems or questions regarding the survey, please contact Mark Clapham, DALC’s policy officer.
For more information on our County Committee and the work it does, see our Committees page.