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RURAL DRIVERS PREPARE FOR LIFE IN THE SLOW LANE

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Talks aimed at giving pedestrians precedence over traffic on country roads have begun in north Norfolk and a rollin...
Talks aimed at giving pedestrians precedence over traffic on country roads have begun in north Norfolk and a rolling programme of experiments in Kent and East Devon is expected to look at ways of slowing traffic down on rural roads.

The Guardian (p8) reports that residents in villages around Cromer and North Walsham are being invited to turn the clock back on roads, so that cars, lorries and tractors give way to walkers cyclists and riders.

The initiative, known both as 'quiet roads' and 'quiet lanes' an probably starting early next year, will rely on friendly persuasion.

John Eaton, a parish councillor, said: 'It's going to turn the UK into a national park. You can imagine every little parish in the country laying down quiet roads.'

The Council for the Protection of Rural England, while backing the experiment, believes legislation is necessary to enforce the quiet road code. It is pressing for 20mph speed limits in villages and 40mph restrictions on other rural roads.

It says drivers must be forced to give way to other road users, just as they do at zebra crossing. But the Countryside Agency argues that practical steps can be taken now without new laws - quiet roads to encourage walking and and cycling through properly protected rights of way and greenways, where no motor vehicles are allowed.

Eddie Littler, chairman of Norfolk CC's planning and transportation committee, insisted enforcement would not work. But he was confident the trial would have a real impact on driver behaviour.

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