Dear Sir,
There were 5 statutory notices in the last edition of Newton News, three of which involve proposals asking if there are objections, two of which will affect many people. These are near the back, in tiny print, just before Christmas when most people are far too busy to look at them and go to the trouble of objecting.
One of these proposes a reduction in speed limit to 50 mph on the A167 from 300m north of the Central Avenue turn off to Aycliffe Village. Another proposes closure of the northern exit out of Aycliffe Village. The email address for objecting is and the deadline for doing so is 12 January.
I have objected to the 50mph speed limit proposal. I am ambivalent about the Aycliffe Village one way system, but suspect many residents of the village will have strong views and leave it to them to object if they wish to do so. My own response is reproduced below:
Subject: Objection to A167 50mph Speed Limit Proposal Reference 31829 – I strongly object to the imposition of a 50mph speed limit on the proposed section of the A167. This is a section of road I use regularly and is my main route to the A1(M), Darlington and Teesside from my home in Newton Aycliffe. Indeed part of the reason I chose my home was because of its proximity to the A167 as a swift means of access to my place of work.
The single carriageway section is marked with white diagonal warning lines in the centre. These thwart overtaking. The only place to overtake is on the dual carriageway. Reduction of the speed limit on this section will prevent progress of faster moving traffic, frustrating drivers stuck behind slow moving vehicles.
During busy times it is impossible to attain speeds in excess of 50mph. In fact, large sections of the road are almost at a standstill, so a 50mph speed limit would be irrelevant.
When the road is quiet, it is perfectly safe to travel on the national speed limits for single and dual carriageways. A 50mph speed limit would unnecessarily hinder progress.
The reasons offered for the imposition of a 50mph limit are to avoid danger or prevent the likelihood of danger to persons or other traffic, to facilitate passage of any class of traffic (including pedestrians), and to preserve or improve the amenities of the area through which the road runs.
There is always potential danger when vehicles are involved, but there has to be some common sense judgement balancing the risk against the benefits. I am aware of no reason to think this section of road is disproportionately dangerous. No statistics are offered to substantiate the implied assertion that it is.
Inter city trains travel at much higher speeds than cars, and anyone who gets on the line and steps in front of one is highly likely to be killed (and quite a few people use them to commit suicide). This risk is mitigated by fencing off the tracks and making it illegal to trespass on the line, but some people still do it. As far as I know, nobody is arguing that train speeds should be reduced to 50mph to reduce this risk. A few less people might be killed, but hundreds of thousands of train users would be wasting many more hours of their lives on trains. The same logic should be applied to the road in question.
I do not see how the proposal would ‘facilitate passage’ of any class of traffic, and strongly argue that it would do precisely the opposite for the vast majority of road users.
I do not see how the proposal would ‘improve the amenities’ of the area in any way.
John Snowball