A county councillor is calling for more 20mph speed limits, labelling rat-running traffic an ‘accident waiting to happen’.

Fremington Rural councillor Frank Biederman has asked Devon County Council's (DCC) cabinet to support requests for a 30mph speed limit for the B3233 from Manteo Way to Barnstaple, with Instow, Yelland, Fremington and Bickington subject to 20mph speed limits.

He has also asked the cabinet to consider 20mph speed limits in Eastleigh, Holmacott and Newton Tracey, following numerous complaints from residents.

Speaking at meeting of the county council's North Devon Highways and Traffic Orders Committee on Tuesday, Cllr Biederman said it was only a matter of time before a serious accident happens.

“I took this to full council nearly two years ago and was told there was a green paper going through Government, but clearly they are only on one project at the moment,” he said.

Fremington Rural Councillor Frank Biederman. Picture: ContributedFremington Rural Councillor Frank Biederman. Picture: Contributed

“I think this is a problem for all of us in North Devon and all across the county.

“It's an accident waiting to happen. Surely it's only a matter of time before one of our constituents has a horrific accident.

“I know what's going to come back: no money and the police won't enforce it, but we need to put pressure on before somebody dies.”

Speaking to the Gazette before the meeting, Cllr Biederman added: “There are lots of elderly people crossing the road to get buses, and they're frightened to death to do it.

“I think people are taking rat runs to avoid gridlock and are really driving at ridiculous speeds. It's a problem we should be looking at.”

DCC's Tom Vaughan said reducing the speed limit to make areas such as the Westleigh junction safer for pedestrians, was 'not an easy issue to deal with'.

Government figures for speed compliance across the UK show 52 per cent of cars exceed the speed limit on 30mph roads in 2017.

Compliance in 20mph zones is even less, with 86 per cent of cars exceeding the speed limit in free flow conditions.

Mr Vaughan said changing the speed limit would 'increase the confidence' of pedestrians while traffic would not necessarily abide by the restrictions.

He added: “Fortunately there has only been one incident on that stretch of road, and it has not involved a pedestrian, but we are aware of the problem.”