Safety campaigners, an MP and Police Commissioner have secured a lowered speed limit on a dangerous stretch of the A66 in North Yorkshire.
Highways England has agreed to introduce a 50mph limit on the A66 at Ravensworth which has been the location of many serious accidents in recent years.
Richmond MP Rishi Sunak and North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner Julia Mulligan had joined forces to back Ravensworth Parish Council and the A66 Action Group.
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Both wrote to Highways England and North Yorkshire Police expressing their concerns about the road after meetings with the council, the action group and residents.
After Highways England and the police both said the issue was driver inattention rather than speed, Mr Sunak continued to press for Highways England officials to meet the campaigners.
Last week, three days before a further meeting between the campaigners, Mr Sunak and the police, Highways England announced it had agreed to the limit on a two-mile single carriageway stretch of the road which includes the junctions serving Ravensworth, West Layton, the Fox Hall Inn and Mainsgill Farm Shop.
In a letter to Mr Sunak and Mrs Mulligan, Richard Marshall, the regional director of HE, confirmed that a temporary 50mph limit would be imposed as soon as possible and then made permanent.
Mr Sunak said: “I am delighted with Highways England’s change of heart on this issue. The campaign group has done a tremendous amount of work in producing the evidence which demonstrated a speed limit was justified.
“Villagers fear using these junctions, particularly the New Lane access to Ravensworth, and it is worse in bad weather and at night. Pending the dualling of this section of the A66, this restriction will definitely improve safety.”
Ravensworth villagers have fought for safety improvements for more than ten years. The parish council and a dedicated A66 Action Group wanted junction improvements and a speed restriction because of the number of accidents, some of which have been fatal.
The Government has announced that the A66 will be upgraded to dual carriageway along its entire length between Scotch Corner and Penrith but that work is not likely to start until after 2020.
Mr Sunak said the parish council and the action group compiled an impressive dossier of information about the stretch of road which showed that it was carrying almost 16,000 vehicles per day and that the length between the West Layton turn-off and the New Lane junction which includes the entrance to the Fox Hall Inn and Mansgill Farm Shop had a poor accident record.
At meeting of villagers last Friday (June 15) Mr Sunak said he would seek clarification from Highways England on exactly when the new speed limit would be introduced.
The meeting was also attended by Andy Tooke of North Yorkshire Police said enforcement of the existing speed limit on the A66 using safety camera vans had doubled in recent months and he pledged to maintain the enforcement regime when the limit was lowered.
The police would also seek additional places to position camera vans so as to monitor the New Lane junction more effectively.
Ken Bell, chair of the A66 Action Group, said he was grateful for the work of the MP and Commissioner and the co-operation of North Yorkshire Police. He particularly thanked Mr Sunak for his persistence in pressing Highways England on the need for the lowered limit.