Case File 10
Alan Howe, Suffolk
Since this case, the Traffic signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (Statutory Instrument. 2002/3113), which superseded the 1994 ones, came into force on 31/1/03. That provides that repeaters are prohibited on all 30 mph limit roads with street lighting less than 200 yards (183m) apart (less than 185m apart in Scotland).
Mr Howe was successfully prosecuted for speeding in a Suffolk village. However, he won his appeal on the grounds that one of the roads included in Suffolk County Council's introduction of a blanket 30 mph speed limits to all of their villages in early 1995, had rendered the previously enforceable speed limit un-enforceable because of inappropriate signing and the lack of maintenance of signs that were in place.
As Mr Howe's case was upheld at Appeal in the Crown Court this would appear to set a precedent so, if you know anyone who has been convicted of a speeding offence in a Suffolk village between 1995 and the present day, their conviction may have been unsafe and they should write to the Chief Constable of Suffolk Constabulary. This link has an example of such a letter.
The BBC News website has more on this story.
The legal position in this case would appear to be quite complex but, for those of you who are interested we have summarised it here:
All restricted roads in the UK have a 30 mph speed limit. They have street lights at 200 yard intervals, and 30 mph speed limit reminder signs (known as repeaters) are expressly prohibited on restricted roads. Refer to the RTAct Regs.1984 and Traffic Signs General Directions Regs 1994.
However, speed limits imposed by order, whether 30 mph or any other speed, must be signed with repeaters - whether lit or not.
Orders are normally used to impose speed limits because there are no street lights or if the limit is anything other than 30 mph/restricted road e.g.; a 40 mph limit where there are street lights at 200 yard spacing.
So, when Suffolk County Council imposed a blanket 30 mph speed limit by order to all their villages in early 1995, they may have rendered all of their hitherto restricted roads unrestricted and the speed limit could no longer be enforced because they did not install the required repeater signs.
However, Suffolk Constabulary may not have understood or did not wish to recognise the change and it's implications, hence they continued to prosecute motorists for speeding on these roads. This article in the East Anglian Daily Times dated 2nd May 2002 clearly shows they understand this issue now, but how many motorists did they prosecute before they became aware of the problem?
Mr Howe, having experience of road design, believes that Suffolk County Council, the police and more importantly the CPS did not either understand the law or there is/was a hidden agenda to prosecute as many motorists as possible and that the whole problem may extend to other areas of the UK!
This link will take you to a complete summary of this case.
This is what Section 103 of the Highway code has to say about speed limits:
- * The 30 mph limit applies to all traffic on all roads in England and Wales (only Class C and unclassified roads in Scotland) with street lighting unless signs show otherwise)
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