UUP Councillor William McCandless said: “This is an issue which has been raised to me by a number of school principals over the past year.
“The speed of traffic passing many schools – particularly in rural areas – is a real concern. There is widespread fears about the safety of our children and a desire to ensure they get to school safely, are in a safe environment whilst there and return home safely.
“I have met department of Infrastructure Snr. Management to establish if enough is being done to ensure our children’s safety.
“I was particularly interested in the different type of speed limit signs which are available. One local rural school in our area has what is called ‘Part Time Speed Limit signs’ which appears to be very successful.
“This system however costs at least £50K per site, depending on conditions, with ongoing significant maintenance costs.”
He recalled: “Over the past five years the budget for this type of work has been severely reduced from approx £1M to £520K. I understand the allocated budget for Local Transport & Safety Measures (such as traffic calming, pelican & pedestrian crossing and speed restrictions outside schools) in the Causeway Coast & Glens area is £170,000 this year.
“There is also severe pressure on resource budgets which would cover – among other things – the maintenance of signs.
“Realistically with such a small budget to work with, it would take many years to cover all the schools which we would wish to facilitate with these signs using the entire allocated budget for LTSM.
“However, I also understand that Transport NI has been investigating a similar signage scheme which would cost around £10,000 to install. This signage is still being developed but would certainly assist in speeding up the programme. However progress would still be dependent on budget allocations going forward.”
Cllr McCandless said: “I am in contact with Ulster Unionist colleagues at Stormont to seek answers about what can be done to help ensure the safety of our children as they enter and leave their schools and lobby Minister Hazzard for sufficient funding.
“Given that the Executive has committed to spend £400m on the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme, it would be disgraceful if the safety of our children was being disregarded for a relatively paltry sum by comparison.”