I HAD to raise a smile when I read that Rob Guyton was caught speeding in Long Melford itself. He was at great pains to point out what a careful and steady driver he is, and he was only doing 37mph. This is a typical scenario for the tens of thousands of ordinary, sensible Suffolk motorists caught and fined every year across our county.
Suffolk now has one of the very highest rates of conviction for minor speeding offences in the country and there is a simple reason why. It is not that we are a county of reckless speed freaks - nearly all these people being caught are ordinary drivers, using sensible skill and judgement and driving at a naturally safe speed in their car. The problem is that the speed limits are wrongly set.
When Suffolk introduced a massive extension to 30mph speed limits in villages and country areas, it went directly against the guidance produced by the Department of Transport which stipulated that speed limits should be set by a percentile rule, which means broadly that they should relate to the naturally safe speed at which an advance or police trained drivers would travel safely.
Long Melford is a case in point - of course there should be a 30mph speed limit from the green southwards to The Maltings (the natural centre of the village) but other roads, such as the far end of Bull Lane and the High Street leading up to the bypass, should have a 40mph speed limit.
It is interesting to note that both the speed cameras and the residents’ speedwatch group always operates its speed gun on these outlying areas where ordinary, sensible motorists are most likely to stray a little above the limit.
I have lived in Little St Mary’s in the middle of Long Melford for nearly 15 years and I have never seen any form of speed camera or speed trap in the middle of the village itself. This is where driving above 30mph is dangerous and especially in the evenings. The real dangerous drivers are occasional cars which tear through the village at 40 to 50mph.
Little St Mary’s