Dear Mrs Dobson
Thank you for your letter and petition dated 4 July 2016. We receive a large number of meeting requests and in most cases we are not able to attend in person, but we do endeavour to respond to requests for information.
The village 30mph project enabled Parish and Town Councils to put forward locations for new or extended 30mph speed limits, and saw the introduction and amendment of many village 30mph speed limits throughout Hampshire. This initiative came to a close several years ago and the County Council is no longer progressing dedicated programmes of village 30mph speed limits.
The speed limit on Christchurch Road, Kingston, was reassessed as part of an additional review of all A and B class roads in Hampshire that sought to identify locations with higher casualty rates than would be expected, and to prioritise reducing speed limits in these locations where a lower limit might reduce casualties. A reduced speed limit on this section of Christchurch Road was not as a priority, buy a 50mph speed limit between Kingston and Avon is being progressed, and is expected to be operational towards the end of September 2016. The works will include enhanced gateway features that will help to maintain compliance with the existing 40mph speed limit.
Traffic survey data in June 2015 recorded mean speeds of 40.3mph southbound and 38.3mph northbound which indicates a good level of compliance with the existing 40mph speed limit and that drivers are, in the main, respectful of the speed limit set.
The County Council is not generally investigating further speed limit changes at this time. This is partly in response to successive funding cuts from central Government, which have significantly reduced our resources for highway and traffic services, but also reflects our earlier investment through the Village 30mph initiative and the county wide review of speed limits on A and B class routes. Further speed limit reviews will now only be investigate as part of the County Council's casualty reduction programmes, and only be implemented where policy requirements are met. The policy requirements are intended to ensure good compliance.
It is regrettable that cuts in funding for local services are severely limiting our capacity to investigate requests. We recognise that communities may wish to fund measures themselves, and are developing options for Town and Parish councils that will support a local community's desire to promote a lower speed environment. There will not include regulatory changes like speed limits, which would be subject to policy constraints, but will instead focus on signing and other measures with the aim of raising motorists' awareness of the need to drive appropriately. Typically this would include the type of enhanced gateways features we will be installing in Kingston as part of the new 50mph speed limit.
Cllr Rob Humby
Executive Member for Environment and Transport