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Petitions

Volume 736: debated on Thursday 20 July 2023

Petition

Thursday 20 July 2023

Observations

Transport

Laughton Common Footpath and Speed Reduction Scheme

The petition of residents of the constituency of Rother Valley,

Declares that road safety and traffic calming measures must be installed on Laughton Common Road; notes that the safety of the bridge on this road must be assessed and strengthened; further declares that a safe footpath between Laughton Common and Thurcroft must be installed following the loss of life on Laughton Common Road in the last few weeks.

The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons call on the Government to urge Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council to install speed monitoring devices on this road and provide a footpath between Laughton Common and Thurcroft.

And the petitioners remain, etc.—[Presented by Alexander Stafford, Official Report, 6 July 2023; Vol. 735, c. 1025.]

[P002842]

Observations from The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport (Mr Richard Holden):

The setting of local speed limits is a matter for the local traffic authority, which has powers to make enforceable speed limit orders that may set either variable speed limits that apply only at certain times, or permanent speed limits that operate all the time.

The Department issues guidance to local traffic authorities designed to make sure that speed limits are appropriately and consistently set while allowing for flexibility to deal with local circumstances. The guidance can be found online at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/setting-local-speed-limits. This guidance is not mandatory and the final decision is for the authority, working with the police force that would carry out any enforcement.

Local authorities are free to make their own decisions about the streets under their care, provided they take account of the relevant legislation. This includes provision of traffic management measures such as traffic calming. They are also responsible for day-to-day management of their road networks, including any necessary road and street works.

The Highways Act 1980 places a duty under section 66 on each local highway authority to

“provide in or by the side of a highway maintainable at the public expense by them which consists of or comprises a made-up carriageway, a proper and sufficient footway as part of the highway in any case where they consider the provision of a footway as necessary or desirable for the safety or accommodation of pedestrians; and they may light any footway provided by them under this subsection.”

It would be inappropriate for the Government to seek to intervene in the process of local democratic accountability.