SIX mandatory 20mph zones outside schools in East Lancashire are set to be scrapped after problems emerged with the electronic signs used to promote the restriction.

The equipment employed by Lancashire County Council has proved to be unreliable and is being removed - at a cost of £30,000 countywide - and replaced with advisory signs instead.

Affected schools include Sir John Thursby Community College in Burnley as well as primary schools in Gisburn, Blacko, Altham Stubbins and Abbey Village.

Paul Binks, the county council’s road safety manager, said: “The continued inconsistent operation of these signs leaves the council susceptible to criticism and undermines the work of the 20mph speed limit programme.

“The problems occurring could also undermine the other 20mph speed limits by reducing compliance.”

But the decision has met with opposition from councillors concerned at the impact of removing the mandatory element of the schemes.

County councillor Kim Snape, who represent Chorley Rural East, said: “'We get a lot of complaints about speeding on Bolton Road, Abbey Village.

“To make it advisory would make the issue worse and I suspect you will get complaints from the parish council too. People have been killed in the past on that road. It is very heavily residential.”

And Withnell borough councillor Christopher France added: “This is a dangerous road at best, I personally knew an 11-year-old who was killed near the playground in a collision with a vehicle.

“Anything which makes people slow down as they travel through the village is a good idea, especially close to the school gates.”

County officials say that analysis has shown there is no difference in the levels of engagement between mandatory and advisory signs.