Search

Martham tree speed scheme may branch out

PUBLISHED: 11:25 17 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:56 16 September 2010

A GREEN scheme to cut down speeding in four Norfolk villages by planting 300 trees along roads has proved a success, an initial report has shown.

For the last five months motorists have slowed down by an average of two to three miles per hour as they travel into Martham, near Great Yarmouth, and Horstead, Mundesley and Overstrand in north Norfolk.

A GREEN scheme to cut down speeding in four Norfolk villages by planting 300 trees along roads has proved a success, an initial report has shown.

For the last five months motorists have slowed down by an average of two to three miles per hour as they travel into Martham, near Great Yarmouth, and Horstead, Mundesley and Overstrand in north Norfolk.

The lines of trees and hedges have led to the slower speeds because they create a more crowded effect on a driver's peripheral vision causing them to slow down as they enter the villages.

Following the release of the initial findings of the £70,000 pilot road safety scheme it is hoped trees will eventually take root in other villages across the county and rest of the country.

It could mean that oak, birch and maple trees could replace traditional speed bumps and other speed deterrent measures nationwide.

Norfolk County Council planted the trees in March as part of a £1.5m two-year government-funded project to reduce speeds in rural communities.

The authority is compiling data on the tree initiative in the 30mph limit villages to send off to the government in the autumn.

If the Department of Transport is impressed by the results then ministers could fund similar schemes across the country.

Stuart Hallett, the county council's casualty reduction manager, said: “We are spending government money and they want to know if what we are doing is worth telling the rest of the country about. We have got the first initial results.

“Our first indications are that we are getting a two to three mile an hour reduction as motorists enter the villages.

“It does seem to suggest that we have something here that seems to be working.”

Mr Hallett said that despite the positive initial results, more data had to be sent off to the government to prove the scheme's value.

The initial results of the trial project follow in the wake of the government announcing it will axe central funding for speed cameras.

In Martham motorists have been slowing down as they drive past the trees in Somerton Road. In all four villages the trees and hedges are creating a scenic gateway to each community.

Mike Huke, chairman of Martham Parish Council, said: “I would say the whole thing is first class and has been a double bonus for Martham.

“Not only has it reduced speeding it has softened the landscape and has attracted more wildlife.”

Christopher Guest, chairman of Mundesley Parish Council, was delighted with the results of the trees along Cromer Road.

He said: “They are just fantastic and I think it would be very good indeed if other villages could take part.”

The £70,000 tree speed reduction project will see the trees and hedges maintained for 15 years.

As well as the tree and hedges being planted, the £1.5m government grant to see how rural roads can be made safer has seen the county council putting “slow down in our village” stickers on bins in Filby and other villages near Yarmouth, and speed cameras in vans monitoring motorcyclists.

Adrian Gunson, Norfolk County Council cabinet member responsible for travel and transport, said: "The council has led the way in finding innovative ways to deal with speeding issues for a number of years.

“I will be absolutely delighted if these roadside trials prove in the long run to be effective in making our roads - and hopefully those around the country - even safer than they are at the moment."

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Great Yarmouth Mercury