MOTORISTS' speeds barely changed on Shropshire's main routes last year – despite drivers upping their speed elsewhere across England as traffic levels dropped.

The RAC says some drivers across the country took advantage of the emptier roads to drive at 'dangerous speeds', including in residential areas.

Department for Transport data shows cars and light vans travelled at an average speed of 36.7 mph on 'A' roads in Shropshire last year.

That was at roughly the same level as in 2019.

The A495 saw the biggest rise in speeds, up 10 per cent to 36.1 mph, followed by the A5191, up five per cent to 15.1mph.

Across England, the average speed of cars and light vans on 'A' roads rose by eight per cent last year to 27.3 mph.

This was caused by a steady increase in speeds following the imposing of Covid-19 stay-at-home restrictions in March last year, the DfT said.

Densely populated areas saw the biggest rise in average speeds – up 13 per cent – compared to a four per cent rise on rural roads.

Simon Williams, RAC road safety spokesman, said the impact of the pandemic on the country's roads was 'something of a double-edged sword.

He added: "On the one hand, fewer delays is positive and may well have led to an improvement in overall air quality, but on the flipside, we know that some drivers have taken advantage of quieter roads by driving at dangerous speeds.

"This has been a particular problem on 30 mph roads in residential areas."

In Shropshire, road users were held up 18.5 seconds per mile on average compared to the pace they would have made if travelling up to the speed limit in free-flowing conditions.

That was a decrease of four per cent compared to 2019.

The road with the biggest drop in delays was the A5124, with a 24 per cent fall in the average hold-up time.