I’ll sue if I’m forced to drive at 20mph

Diane Greenwood of Wolsey Close, Cleveleys
Diane Greenwood of Wolsey Close, Cleveleys
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A BMW driver is threatening to sue a council if plans to reduce the speed limits on residential roads go ahead.

Lancashire County Council wants to impose a blanket speed restriction on all residential roads by 2013.

The £9m plan aims to reduce the number of road deaths and injuries in the county.

But Diane Greenwood, 47, of Wolsey Close, Cleveleys, says the changes will damage her car – and the environment.

She said: “My car is a two litre diesel BMW and is not designed to drive at 20mph in fourth gear which means I will have to drive in third gear.

“This will not only damage my car but will also affect the environment and cost me fortunes in extra fuel costs.

“If this happens I will have no alternative but to lodge a claim against Lancashire County Council for the damage to my vehicle and any extra costs incurred due to the new restrictions.”

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Roads affected in Cleveleys include West Drive, Cumberland Avenue and parts of North Drive.

Mrs Greenwood believes “major routes” such as these should not be restricted.

She said: “All of these roads are long and wide and lead to other major routes - it seems there has been no thought put into deciding which roads are restricted and which are not.

“I am an experienced driver and have driven for 30 years, in that time I have seen traffic slow right down – there is no real need for action.

“I agree the speed limit should be reduced around schools but it does seem a waste of taxpayers’ money when Department for Transport figures show a drop in all fatalities except cyclists. There should be money spent on signs to warn people about checking for cyclists.”

Last week campaigners against a blanket 20mph speed limit in Fleetwood handed a petition to county hall bosses.

And driving instructor Derek Ronson, from Pilling Lane, Preesall, said there was such a groundswell of opinion against the new lower limit that protests were being discussed.

He said: “We are looking at having a day of protest, driving through the area at 5mph. There’s also a petition.”

Mr Ronson, who has lived in the area 20 years and run his business for 17, said the limit was having an effect on his business.

He added: “It’s just ridiculous. It takes so long to get from A to B at this speed, yet there’s a 30mph limit past two schools.

“It would be fine on side roads, residential areas and near schools, but it’s crazy to put it in place on main roads as well.

Paul Binks, Lancashire County Council’s road and transport safety manager, said: “The programme to introduce 20mph limits in residential areas and outside schools addresses many communities’ concerns about safety.

“People are much more likely to survive and have fewer injuries if involved in an accident at 20mph than 30mph.

“The impact on the environment is likely to be neutral as the roads included in the scheme already have relatively low average speeds and a further small reduction will have a minimal effect on air quality. It is quite difficult to drive efficiently at 30mph on many residential roads as the busy environment requires repeated acceleration and braking – driving at 20mph encourages a smoother driving style resulting in lower emissions.”