Trial will focus on a village rat-run’

PUBLISHED: 05:53 18 January 2007 | UPDATED: 10:06 31 May 2010

ALTERNATIVE methods of slowing traffic that use villages as high-speed rat-runs will be trialled in Uttlesford. At a meeting of the North Area Panel of Uttlesford District Council held on Tuesday night, a motion was carried to introduce natural speed re

ALTERNATIVE methods of slowing traffic that use villages as 'high-speed rat-runs' will be trialled in Uttlesford.

At a meeting of the North Area Panel of Uttlesford District Council held on Tuesday night, a motion was carried to introduce natural speed reduction measures in a village in the district.

If the trial is successful the measures could be rolled out in villages across Uttlesford.

Littlebury parish Cllr and member of the Road Traffic Calming Task Group, Liz Sanders, presented a talk and slideshow on various traffic calming methods to the panel and stressed she felt Littlebury urgently needed attention.

She said: "Littlebury is a special case - it straddles the B1383, which is a lorry route and a relief road for the M11 when there are delays or closures, and is used as a high-speed rat-run by commuters.

"One in five buildings in Littlebury is listed, and heavy goods vehicles regularly pass within a hair's breadth of them as they go through the village."

Mrs Sanders added that excessive signage did not help the problem, although she noted that a vehicle-activated sign fitted at the south end of Littlebury had been effective.

She also pointed out that adding natural traffic calming measures, such as using pink or sand-coloured tarmac and removing white lines and reducing signage, had been effective in villages elsewhere.

She said: "Presenting the illusion of danger is a very effective way of reducing speed; infantilising drivers with too much signage leads them to rely on it."

Littlebury man Joe Higham pushed the panel for action, and a motion to introduce a trial of natural traffic calming measures was agreed.

Cllr Martin Savage, who represents Ashdon, was not convinced the proposed experiment would be of long-term benefit and said it could be detrimental to other villages.

"Every one of our communities is different in terms of what will work and what won't," he said.

"The budget for such measures is small and I'm not sure having one experiment will achieve much in the long term and it may detract from the efforts of other villages to get measures implemented."

Newport district Cllr Andrew Yarwood, said "We need a clear decision from highways and let's sort this out now," he said.

"We've been campaigning for three years in Quendon and Rickling to get the speed limit reduced from 40 to 30 miles per hour before lives are lost."

When proposing the motion, Cllr Jan Menell suggested that an application should be made to the Community Initiative Fund to finance the scheme.

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