SPEED limits around schools could be lowered in a bid to improve road safety.

Durham County Council is already putting 20mph limits in place near more than 30 schools and on Wednesday, December 14 cabinet will be asked to include 33 more zones, selected due to factors including traffic speeds, accident data and potential risk to pedestrians, to the scheme.

They are in the Peterlee, Chester-le-Street, Bishop Auckland, Consett, Easington, Durham, Barnard Castle, Willington, Horden, Pelton, Seaham, Sacriston, Stanley, Lanchester and Spennymoor.

Councillor Brian Stephens, cabinet member for neighbourhoods and local partnerships, said: “Lower speed limits have now been implemented at almost all of the schools chosen for the first phase of the scheme.

“This is not only ahead of schedule but also under budget. That’s why, earlier this year, Cabinet was able to agree that the money we have left should be spent on doubling the number of schools covered by the scheme.

“Our aim is to improve road safety and promote a healthy and active lifestyle by encouraging more people to walk or cycle instead of using the car.”

A Public Health Grant of £952,850 funds the initiative. An education programme to make children more road aware, promote cycling and walking and increase speed awareness among motorists runs alongside it.