National Road Safety Week: Essex school in plea for 20mph speed limit

CALLS to lower the speed limit to 20mph outside Uttlesford’s schools have been backed by youngsters following a unique initiative held as part of National Road Safety Week.

Pupils at Debden Primary School joined representatives from the village’s speed watch team for the arrival of an educational road safety scheme called ‘Community Wheels’ on Tuesday - holding up banners to support a lowering of the speed limit.

Mike Fairchild, from Debden Speedwatch, told the Reporter he believed it was an idea that was gathering momentum up and down the country - especially in rural areas.

He said: “There is a growing feeling that in areas like this where there is a school in a small village that the speed limit should be lowered to 20mph or at least for motorists to slow town below the required limit.

“We have reported about 150 drivers since we started the speed watch scheme last year and all have been exceeding the speed limit - so it is a big problem. I think the message is starting to get through but people need reminding with events like this.”

The van, run by Essex Fire Service in partnership with the county council, paid a visit to the village in an attempt to teach primary school children about the importance of staying safe on the district’s roads - both as pedestrians and passengers.

Andrea Macalister, Essex Fire Service’s Road Safety Partnerships Manager, said youngsters were being shown the importance of wearing a seatbelt and how to take care when crossing the road.

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“The main aim of the scheme is to educate 17 to 25-year-olds about the dangers of speeding, drink driving, using your mobile phone and being distracted while behind the wheel - the most common causes of accidents across the county,” she explained.

“But this is quite unique as we were asked by Debden Speed Watch if we could come along and support them as part of Road Safety Awareness Week and speak to primary school children in the village.”

The van was parked outside the village hall all day, also offering motorists and parents of schoolchildren the opportunity to find out more about driving safely in the wintry conditions and how to make sure their vehicles are prepared for snow and ice.