Campaigners rejoice after crucial B197 study speed limit reduction

PUBLISHED: 11:34 16 July 2018 | UPDATED: 13:03 16 July 2018

The B197 near Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Google Stree View.

The B197 near Welwyn Garden City. Picture: Google Stree View.

Archant

A campaign to lower the speed limit of the B197 has progressed after a crucial study found in favour of parents.

Grant Shapps, parents Carly Mehmut and Neil Hughes, and St Michael's heateacher Jan Martin. Picture: Mr Shapps' officeGrant Shapps, parents Carly Mehmut and Neil Hughes, and St Michael's heateacher Jan Martin. Picture: Mr Shapps' office

The stretch between Welwyn Garden City and Woolmer Green, which passes Oaklands Primary School and St Michael’s Woolmer Green School, has varying speed limits from 70mph to 40mph.

Worried parents and councillors have been lobbying for change, which led to an official study being undertaken to assess the road.

County councillor for Welwyn Richard Smith, who has been backing the campaign, told the WHT that the study has made a number of “significant recommendations”.

Among those are potentially introducing a 40mph speed limit throughout, and making it 30mph near the schools.

He said: “The overwhelming feeling [among campaigners] is that there should be one speed limit, then outside the two schools you could put a speed limit of 20mph or 30mph.

“So at long last we have professionals coming to the same conclusion as many of us local councillors and parents.”

Jan Martin, headteacher at St Michael’s Woolmer Green, said he was “delighted” to hear the report’s conclusions.

“It would be great to have a controlled crossing outside St Michael’s and to upgrade the zebra crossing,” he said.

“This would go some way to ensuring the safety of our families.”

Cllr Smith said the next steps involve the county council examining all the points.

The Police and Crime Commissioner, which funded the survey and has agreed to consider some of the short-term measures, would then decide whether to implement the findings.

Welwyn Hatfield’s MP Grant Shapps, who met with parents to discuss the issue last December, also welcomed the breakthrough findings.

“Reducing the speed limit to 30mph and making the crossings safer for children is a subject that I and other local parents have been campaigning on for some time,” he told the WHT.

“With two primary schools on this road it is vital that we keep our school children safe.

“I was therefore pleased that the interim report has recognised that the road is a genuine safety risk, and it now proposes a number of solutions – some of which can be implemented soon.”

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