THREE primary schools will be surrounded by 20mph zones as part of a pilot scheme aiming to tackle growing community concerns over dangerous roads.

Highgate Primary Academy and Goldthorpe Primary Academy - on Nicholas Lane and Doncaster Road, Goldthorpe, respectively - and Carrfield Primary Academy in Bolton-upon-Dearne are planned to have 20mph signs in place by September when the new year starts.

Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey, who campaigned for the initiative alongside local councillors, campaigners and school heads, started a petition which was signed by 225 people.

He said: “I want to thank everyone who backed my campaign and helped me send a strong message that we need to do more to try to keep our children safe outside school.

“I’m keen to see the new signs installed as soon as possible and hopefully before the start of the school year in September.”

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Coun Chris Lamb, cabinet spokesperson for environment and transportation, said: “I’m really pleased our highways team was able to support the request to establish 20mph zones around these three schools.

“This 20mph pilot scheme is another example of our continued commitment to improving road safety across the borough for all road users.

“We hope to have the signs in place ready for the start of the new school year in September.”

The change follows Barnsley Council’s recent neighbourhood road safety initiative, through which £90,000 has been made available for one-off projects that communities requested.

Councillors were asked to submit bids putting forward schemes they felt were most needed in their areas earlier this year. Oakhill Primary School in Ardsley - where campaigners have long sought traffic calming measures on the busy Doncaster Road - will also benefit from a 20mph zone through that scheme.

Coun Lamb thanked councillors in the area for their help in shaping the scheme.

“This proposed pilot funding presents a different opportunity to look at local intelligence and feedback from the community to consider locations which we believe do present a risk and where action might be needed,” he added.

Road traffic collisions caused more than 400 injuries - including nine fatalities - on Barnsley’s roads last year, according to the latest figures.

Barnsley’s number of fatal collisions has fallen since the year prior, according to the Department for Transport (DfT) statistics - but has trebled since 2015 when there were just three.

The majority of the 444 casualties - 329, or 74.3 per cent - were deemed as causing ‘slight’ injuries, a 17.7 per cent drop since the previous year and more than 50 per cent down on the yearly average from 2010 to 2014.

But fatal injuries on Barnsley’s road network account for almost a third of all South Yorkshire’s 30 deaths in 2020.

There were 114 motorists killed or seriously injured (KSI) in the borough, which is down by 25.5 per cent on 2019’s three-year high, and the lowest of South Yorkshire’s four local authority areas.

In total, casualties in Barnsley have dropped by 19.9 per cent in 12 months and 41.5 per cent since the 2010 to 2014 average.

Road safety bosses saw a sharp drop in casualties in the second quarter of the year, from March to May, which they say shows the impact of lockdown on road use.

The new 20mph zones, if implemented by September as planned, may therefore be introduced at a time when a rise in collisions and casualties can be expected as roads return to pre-lockdown levels.