Call to extend 20mph limit outside all rural schools

Cllr Declan McAlinden
Cllr Declan McAlinden

Part time 20mph speed limits should be extended to all rural schools, according to SDLP Cllr Declan McAlinden.

After the Department of Infrastructure introduced the reduced limit at a further seven schools recently, Cllr McAlinden said there is no reason why this ‘cannot become the norm across the North’.

“This announcement is part DFI’s Road Safety Strategy 2020, which has committed to introducing speed restrictions outside selected schools where the national speed limit applies.’

“My frustration with this policy is how the Department can select one primary school over another when it is clear that all children are vulnerable during pick up times regardless of location. Rural Schools in Upper Bann are particularly vulnerable. The Craigavon and Lurgan DEA’s are of the most deprived wards in the North and the Department itself recognises in its strategy that children living in a most deprived area are five times more likely to be injured in a collision than a child living in a least deprived area.’

“In recent times, the SDLP have lobbied for enhanced traffic calming measures outside a number of Primary Schools, however the main issue outside schools that has been reported to us, is speed. St Mary’s, Derrymore was one of the first to benefit from a 20mph restriction and it has had a positive impact. The Department spends significant time and resources educating children on road safety, while this is important I would like to see a more practical approach to address speeding outside our schools.”