Oxfordshire County Council has been criticised after it was revealed that £11,000 of taxpayers' money was spent on enlarging 20 mph speed limit signs around Witney. The decision was made in response to a perceived lack of compliance from drivers with the recently implemented speed limit.
Local county councillor Liam Walker, who is the shadow cabinet member for highways, has voiced strong opposition to the expenditure, labelling it as "yet another example of the coalition wasting public funds" on what he deems to be "failed pet projects".
Cllr Walker said, "The council has now accepted it seems that simply changing road signs to 20 mph has made very little difference and are now being forced to make the signs bigger in the hope this will make drivers comply with the new speed limits. The Department for Transport guidance on 20 mph speed limits made it clear there is often a need to have traffic calming to help bring speeds down but the coalition thought they knew best and allocated £8 million of our money to change just road signs."
The decision to increase the size of the speed limit signs has ignited a debate about the effectiveness of such measures in promoting road safety and compliance. Critics argue that the funds could have been better utilised for initiatives with a more direct impact on traffic safety or community well-being.
In a response to a question submitted by Cllr Walker about the cost of the bigger signs Cllr Andrew Gant who is the cabinet member responsible for highways in Oxfordshire said, "The larger signs were installed to increase the visibility of the new speed limit due to continuing reported non-compliance. When such concerns are expressed, we consider increasing the size of signs, but only on major routes. The cost was around £11,000."