PLANS to install advisory 20mph limits outside schools across Somerset have been criticised for not going far enough to protect children.

Somerset County Council revealed plans to bring about the new measures in half of all schools across the region this year with £1.5million of funding.

The remaining schools will be done in future years.

The news has been welcomed by schools across the county.

Rhian Locker, headteacher of Nerrols Primary School, which recently campaigned for better measures to tackle speeding drivers outside schools, said: “I am so pleased to hear the council is taking this seriously.

“We have issues with cars speeding along Nerrols Drive and recently took this up with our local councillor, who has been lobbying on our behalf.

“We have been promised new measures and signage to remind drivers that there is a school here, so the 20mph limit will really help reinforce this.

“Most of our families walk or cycle to school, so anything which ensures the safety of children on our roads is very welcome indeed.”

But the issue for some surrounding the ‘advisory’ nature of the measures.

Rod King MBE, founder of the 20’s Plenty for Us campaign, has accused the council of ‘faking’ its concern for pupils by not ensure the speed limits are enforceable.

READ MORE: New 20mph speed zones to be installed outside all Somerset schools

He said: “I was appalled to hear that SCC is spending so much money on introducing advisory 20mph limits around schools which merely inform drivers that slower speeds are optional and that in any case they can speed up once past the school.

“I am afraid this is a council that is faking its concern for children.

“Analysis shows that only 20 per cent of child casualties occur on the way to or from school. Even then, the children gaining most protection will be those driven into the school zone by parents.

“ Children need the protection that lower speed limits provide for their whole journey to school, and equally if they visit friends relatives, the shops or play areas.”

North Town Primary School is set off busy Staplegrove Road in Taunton town centre.

Mike Snowden, headteacher, has welcomed the news as an undeniably great idea, but says he would be happy to see the speed limits set as mandatory.

He said: “For years it has always been a concern. I talked with someone at the council many years ago asking why they hadn’t brought this in.

“It’s tried and tested and other local authorities do the same.

“For me, it will be really helpful on that stretch of road.

“I do think a mandatory limit is required.

“It will increase the safety. Most people will follow the advice, but some won’t.”

But the council says its the awareness that comes with the advisory limits that really make a difference.

Councillor John Woodman, SCC cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “We recognise that speed limits can be perceived to be the answer to safer roads, however a speed limit itself does not raise awareness of the need for drivers to take additional care on the road outside of a school at start and finish times.

“Our experience shows that the presence of advisory ‘20mph when lights show’ signs can be more effective at alerting drivers of the presence of children walking and cycling to school. The signs will be controlled by the school, welcomed by the community and understood by drivers.”

No information has yet been given on which schools are set to benefit first or how they will be chosen.