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Roads: Rural Areas

Volume 474: debated on Wednesday 2 April 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps her Department is taking to reduce deaths and injuries on rural roads. (198378)

The majority of the Department’s road safety policies will have an impact on the number of deaths and serious injuries on rural roads. In addition there are a number of policies specifically aimed at the rural road network.

The Department is investing £8 million in a Rural Road Safety Demonstration Project which will be introduced from 1 April 2007 and continue for three years.

The Rural Road Safety Demonstration Project is intended to demonstrate good practice for local highway authorities in developing and implementing an area wide, data-led, strategy for addressing road casualty reduction in rural areas. It is intended that good practice guidance will be developed from the knowledge gained during the project, and that this will be disseminated to other highway authorities.

The Department also published guidance to local authorities on setting local speed limits in August 2006. This requests local traffic authorities to review speed limits on their A and B roads, and implement any necessary changes by 2011.

Lower speed limits are encouraged where the evidence or characteristics of the road warrant this. But equally local traffic authorities should consider increasing limits if it is warranted and can be done safely.