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MP Jacob Rees-Mogg brands 20mph plans waste of cash

By Somerset Guardian  |  Posted: November 30, 2012

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North East Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has branded Bath and North East Somerset Council's plans to introduce blanket 20mph speed limits across the district "a complete waste of money".

The Conservative MP questioned whether the speed limit change would make any difference to road safety especially as many drivers already flaunt existing speed limits.

He said he felt the £500,000 being spent by the local authority could be better invested in alternative road safety measures that target problem blackspots.

His comments come as B&NES asks residents of Radstock and Westfield for their views on plans to introduce a signs only 20mph speed limit in the area.

They are the next communities being given the chance to have their say in a consultation that runs until December 21.

A leaflet to every household in the proposed restriction area will be distributed shortly.

The informal consultation takes place prior to a formal Traffic Regulation Order where people will again have the chance to have their say.

Most roads would be part of the speed limit although some are proposed to remain at 30mph, such as some of the main routes into Radstock.

Councillor Roger Symonds (Lib Dem, Combe Down), cabinet member for transport, said it was a key priority for B&NES to reduce speed limits to make streets safer.

He quoted statistics from the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents which highlight the better chance of pedestrian survival if hit by a car travelling at a lower speed.

Mr Rees-Mogg's comments were made while visiting Universal Yoga, in Camerton, to speak to owner Charlotta Martinus, who is trying to gain retrospective planning permission to operate a yoga business from her home on Red Hill.

Ms Martinus has been refused permission by B&NES and had a planning appeal dismissed because access to the property is on a dangerous road – which, like many across the district, is soon to have the speed limit dropped to 20mph.

She called in help from her MP after being told B&NES may soon carry out enforcement action to stop her using the property for yoga classes – which she says would force her to sell up and close the business she started in 2008.

Mr Rees-Mogg criticised B&NES for not making suggestions of how to resolve the planning dispute and called on the local authority to work proactively to resolve problems faced by businesses to help keep the economy active.

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