When news happens, text SDE and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Campaigners lose out in bid to cut A31 speed limit
IT is one of Hampshire’s busiest roads and has seen countless crashes – many of which bring traffic to a standstill.
But highway chiefs have ruled that not enough motorists have been injured on the A31 to justify a reduction in the 70mph speed limit.
The decision has angered campaigners, who are threatening to take their case to the Department of Transport.
Ringwood Town Council is pressing for a 50mph restriction to be imposed between Picket Post and the Ashley Health roundabout.
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition calling for a lower limit and other safety measures to be introduced on the A31.
However, the Highways Agency has declared that the busy commuter route is not sufficiently dangerous to warrant a reduction.
In a letter to the council the Agency said the personal injury collision (PIC) rate would have to be 86 per 100 million vehicle kilometres before the limit could be changed.
However, a review carried out in 2010 showed a rate of no more than 11.7 per cent.
The Agency claimed that many of the collisions were rear-end shunts and other comparatively minor accidents that occurred in slow moving or near stationary traffic.
It added: “Based on this evidence there is nothing to support a reduction in the speed limit.”
But councillors are refusing to take “no” for an answer and have vowed to carry on lobbying for a speed reduction.
Councillor Michael Thierry said: “The current 70mph limit is unaceptable.
There was a three-car crash only a few days ago which, according to the police, was all down to speed.
“The Highways Agency aren’t living here and having to deal with the problem of the A31 on a daily basis.
“They often have an ostrich-like approach to issues of this nature.
They’re very rigid and inflexible and yet their decisions affect the lives of so many people.
“The A31 has a long history of incidents – everything from minor crashes to fatalities.
“Our petition was signed by more than 1,000 people, only one of whom said they were against a reduction in the speed limit.”
Cllr Thierry said it might be necessary for the council to lobby the Department for Transport in the wake of the Agency’s response.