ESSEX County Council is to carry out new speed checks on roads which residents claim have become rat-runs for traffic to and from Rayleigh station.

There has been an increase in the amount of traffic on Purleigh Road and Hatfield Road, Rayleigh, over the past ten years, because of new development in the area.

Chris Lumley, Liberal Democrat Rochford district councillor for Grange ward, has organised a petition, with more than 120 signatures, complaining about speeding motorists.

Mr Lumley said a previous speed check two years ago had shown there were no problems.

But residents said the focus of a recent study was on parts of the roads where traffic was naturally going to slow down anyway.

He added: "I often walk down both these roads and can testify it is not unusual to see cars travelling in excess of the speed limit during the day and I am told it is worse at night."

County council spokesman Peter Craig said it was proposed to wait until the spring to carry out the checks as winter weather tended to moderate traffic speeds.