Speeding issues/concerns in the Parish

The Parish Council have made various enquiries to the local authorities regarding speeding in Puriton and Downed.  Here is their response:

Speed limits are only one element of speed management and local speed limits should not be set in isolation. They should be part of a package with other measures to manage speeds, which include engineering, visible interventions and landscaping standards that respect the needs of all road users and raise the driver’s awareness of their environment, together with education, driver information, training and publicity.

 The police service has to ensure all resources are used effectively in responding to community priorities.

Avon and Somerset Constabulary will support all appropriate speed limits, including 20mph roads, where;

 The limit looks and feels like the limit, giving visiting motorists who wish to conform that chance;

the desired outcome has to be speeds at the limit chosen so as to achieve safe roads for other and vulnerable users, not high speeds and high enforcement;

the limit is self-enforcing ( with reducing features) not requiring large scale enforcement;

the limit is only introduced where mean speeds are already close to the limit to be imposed, (24mph in a 20mph limit) or with interventions that make the limit clear to visiting motorists;

speeding problems identified in an area must have the engineering, site clarity and need re-assessed, not simply a call for more enforcement.

 Enforcement will be considered in all clearly posted limits, given other priorities, and this will be by:

 Targeted enforcement where there is deliberate offending and the limits are clear;

 Where limits are not clear ( that is they don’t feel like or look like the limit or are on inappropriate roads), they will not be routinely enforced, only targeted where there is intelligence of obvious deliberate disregard which may result in increased threat, harm or risk to other road users.

 Deliberate high harm offenders will always be targeted and prosecuted whereas enforcement against drivers who simply misread the road may not be appropriate.

 None of the above should in anyway leave the impression that we will not enforce the law.  As with all speed limits, and other enforcement work, we will use evidence to ensure that our resources are allocated in the most appropriate way using appropriate tactics. Enforcement of limits that do not comply with the above representations could lead to mistaken offending and could risk the loss of public support.

 Enforcement cannot and must not take the place of proper engineering and or clear signing.”


This is what SCC send out in response to 20mph speed enquiries:

Thank you for letting us know of the support you have expressed for the adoption of an authority-wide default 20mph limit for urban and village roads.

The current default speed limit set out in existing legislation is 30mph and Somerset County Council as the local Highway Authority are not able to change the default and therefore would need to consider the Department for Transport guidance on ‘Setting local speed limits’.  Every location would need to be subject to detailed assessments to determine the actual speeds, collision history and usage etc, which in turn would determine the measures that would be required to lower the speed limit to 20mph.  Roads where the existing mean speeds are less than 24mph could be implemented with signs/lines along but roads where the average speeds are higher would require features to physically slow vehicles down to nearer 20mph.

As you will appreciate, the introduction of such schemes would be very a complex and costly project, which would require a great deal of work and consultation to develop them successfully.  At present funding has been made available for the introduction of the advisory 20mph ‘When lights Show’ limits outside of schools and we are hoping that this programme will be completed in the summer 2022.  This has been developed to help improve road safety outside of schools, with measures to encourage drivers to slow down at the times when children are entering and leaving schools and arose as concerns about speeding traffic outside schools have been raised regularly with our Councillors. The feedback from the local communities and schools where these signs have so far been implemented is a very positive one.

We are not therefore currently in a position to consider a blanket 20mph limit across all urban and village speed limits but if there is a specific location (village setting or a possible urban area) where there is a strong desire for the reduction of a speed limit to 20mph we do have a process in place to look at this on a site specific basis.   If deemed suitable this can be taken forward through the County Council (your local county councillor and the Traffic Management Team) with full support of the parish/town council and the police.  Our estimated costs to undertake such a scheme would very roughly be approximately £10,000, per location, however this could increase if we receive a significant number of objections.  It is very important therefore that the community are fully on board from the outset.  Similar previous requests have stalled when the detailed design showing the amount of signing/lining required is shared with the wider community and seen as visually intrusive, particularly where speeds are already low.

For information, often requests by one person are not always the views of the whole community and we would always seek direction from the local Parish or Town Councils, and the elected County Councillors before taking any scheme forward.  Rather than officers spending time investigating matters at the request of one person only for this then to be dismissed by Parish/Town Council, it is therefore more appropriate that requests for highway improvements are directed to the Parish or Town Councils initially and that they put forward the requests.

I hope that this has explained our current position, but if you require any further information please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Therefore a Community Speedwatch Group would help to collect data to present to the authorities.  Could you give an hour a week to help run this group for a 6 month period?  All training and equipment provided.  Please contact the clerk on 01934 221659 or email clerk@puritonparishcouncil.org for further details or to add your name to the list.  Without the help of volunteers we will not be able to resolve this issue!


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