FAULTY sensors on traffic lights have been blamed for traffic congestion that caused scores of children to be late for school.

The lights, at the Shadsworth junction of the M65 motorway, were not detecting traffic properly, leading to heavy traffic during rush hour. Traffic also backed up on the motorway.

Belthorn Primary School, in Belthorn Road, said lessons were disrupted with nearly 70 children arriving after 9am on one day last week. The school has around 180 pupils.

Headteacher Steve Tilley said: “Parents are telling me it is taking them well over an hour to travel to school, with several leaving even earlier, but to no avail.”

He added: “Clearly, as a school we wish to promote punctual attendance. This is impossible if our parents are finding it so difficult to get through the traffic. It is also having a most disruptive effect upon the start of the day and the first lessons.” He said the traffic was flowing better yesterday when the lights were covered up and out of use, although there was stationary traffic on the M65, which the lights were installed to prevent.

A spokesman for the Highways Agency said the lights were switched off as a temporary measure.

New sensors have been ordered and give way signs were introduced at the end of each slip road as an interim measure Senior county council traffic engineer Matthew Hargreaves said they had had a few complaints about the congestion at M65, junction five, adding: “Hopefully it will be fixed shortly before the ‘pinch point’ improvement work is started next year.