SIGNS which change the speed limits on roads at different times of the day are to be used for a new trial outside an East Lancashire primary school.

Speed limits on roads around St John's Primary School, Baxenden, will fall to 20mph before school starts and in the afternoon.

County Hall chiefs believe the idea, the first of its kind in the country, should overcome scepticism about 'blanket' 20mph zones which have been tested elsewhere.

The new approach to road safety outside the school will involve flashing 20mph signs on nearby roads, timed for the part of the day when children are out and about. A school in Barrowford will also take part in the project.

County Coun Jean Yates, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "The approach has been to impose blanket 20mph zones, but the Department for Transport has agreed Lancashire should pilot a different approach.

"There has been scepticism about whether drivers take 20mph zones seriously as they know pupils are only on the roads at limited times of the day. This approach respects that and hopes that the new zones will be far more effective as drivers will take time-restricted warnings more seriously."

The bright yellow signs, fitted with flashing amber lights, will be a test of driver psychology. A message on the back of each sign will tell drivers when they are leaving the 20mph zone.

Katherine Adnitt, headteacher, said: "We welcome this because Manchester Road is a busy road where people speed."