TRAFFIC campaigners are hoping a new staggered speed limit will help slow down motorists passing through their village.

At the moment people driving into Binchester, near Bishop Auckland, are required to reduce their speed from 60mph to 30mph as they hit the residential area.

However, new measures will mean motorists will have to reduce their speed more gradually as part of the 30mph zone will be raised to 40mph.

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Traffic engineers at Durham County Council say this will allow a 30mph sign to be erected nearer to properties and will act as a reminder to people about slowing down.

The work has been made possible after county councillor Charlie Kay donated his highways budget to pay for it.

Gina Underwood, chairwoman of the residents association, said monitoring which had been carried out revealed nearly 40 per cent of motorists had been speeding while travelling through the village.

“We are very grateful to coun Kay,” she said. “He has backed us from the start and agreed there is an issue.

“We have been told this is the best way forward and we are happy with it. We will continue to monitor it to make sure it is having a good effect.”

Coun Kay said: “There has been an issue with traffic speeding through the village for a long time. It has been the highest priority with residents.

“Hopefully this will reduce the safety problem.”

Keith Jameson, area traffic and community engagement manager at Durham County Council, said: “The issue of speeding along this road was brought to our attention following a PACT meeting with police where members of the residents association expressed their concerns.

“We are looking at amending the speed limit to 30mph outside of the houses and to 40mph to the stretch of the road where there are no houses. We have found in other areas that measures like this have proven to be effective in slowing drivers down.

“In addition, the use of 40mph speed limits allows repeater signs to be used which remind motorists of the limit. Durham Police are fully supportive of the changes and following consultation we have no outstanding objections to the proposals.”