PARISH councillors have thrown their weight behind a bid to introduce 20mph zones in Kirkburton.

Members of Kirkburton Parish Council have been pushing for lower speed limits for several years but say they have been snubbed by Kirklees Council Highways Department.

A statement from the parish council claimed that across the 11 villages in the parish, every one of the 12 primary schools had problems with speeding traffic and parking on narrow roads, some of them without even the benefit of a pavement.

Chairman of Kirkburton Parish Council Clr Sharon Dunford said: “I wholeheartedly support this campaign.

“At the parish council we have been asking Kirklees for 20 mph speed limits outside our schools since 2007 without any positive response.

“Kirkburton Area Committee has supported the scheme and there has been mention of a pilot in three villages to see if it would work.

“This seems like a good idea to me and Highways should be pursuing this as a means of reducing the high accident rate among schoolchildren.”

Clr Dunford said they realised road alterations came at a price, but added: “I’m sure the money would be found if a young child were to be killed on the road outside one of these schools.

“Suddenly this would be high priority. Why do we always have to wait for someone to be hurt before matters such as this are taken seriously and positive action taken?”

Kirklees has already brought in 20mph zones in Almondbury and in the centre of Honley and Meltham, while Calderdale Council has done the same in Stainland.

But a council spokesman said Kirkburton areas were not a priority: “The parish council’s request was for 20mph speed limits outside Kirkburton schools and for 20mph signs to be erected outside three schools in the area.

“Many drivers ignore such signs, which makes it necessary to install other traffic calming measures – such as chicanes and road humps – for the 20mph zone to be effective.

“Based on traffic speeds, accident numbers and the level of risk to road users, we always look to identify the places where these measures are most urgent.

“Road safety is very important to us, but we have to prioritise works according to need and Kirkburton is not a high priority within the current Highway Safety programme.

“This means a different funding source would have to be identified and, as yet, there has been no approach from the Town and Valley Committee to provide such funding.

“Any scheme would need to include traffic calming measures as, unfortunately, lowering the speed limit does not guarantee that drivers will slow down.”