More roads should come under 20mph scheme, say councillors

Cllr Simon King at Cambridgeshire County Council elections

Cllr Simon King said the county council needs to make sure any changes to speed limits are supported by the community. - Credit: Harry Rutter/Cambridgeshire County Council

Councillors have suggested that the criteria for a scheme to allow more roads in Cambridgeshire to be given a 20mph speed limit should be expanded to allow for higher speed roads to be considered. 

Cambridgeshire County Council is working on a scheme to allow people to apply for roads to be given a 20mph speed limit. 

The county council wants to implement more 20mph zones across the county to help improve safety. 

At a meeting of the Highways and Transport committee on January 25, councillors supported the proposals and the creation of a working group to develop the plans further. 

However, they suggested that the proposed criteria by which roads would be assessed as to whether a 20mph zone could be established, should be expanded. 

Council documents prepared for the meeting said a 20mph speed limit is appropriate for built-up areas and residential development or community space, where vehicles and vulnerable road users are expected to mix. 

It explained that community support for a 20mph zone would need to be assessed.  

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And as part of the scheme’s process, local councillors and parish councils should be asked for opinions and weight should be given to petitions and community views as well. 

It added that places would then only be considered for a 20mph zone if two of the three following criteria are met: 

  • The current mean speeds are at or below 24mph.

  • There is a depth of residential development or community space (e.g. high street) and evidence of pedestrian and cyclist movements within the area. 

  • There is a record of injury collisions (Based on police collision data) within the area, over a period of the last five years. 

It was the assessment of the current average speed criteria that was highlighted by councillors as needing to be changed. 

Some councillors argued that this requirement may defeat the purpose of what the new scheme is aiming to achieve. 

Cllr Alex Beckett said: “I think what we want here is actually a reduction in speed and a reduction in casualties. 

“I think most of us are less concerned about just signposting roads. 

“It seems that where we have a road that is already 24mph or below, putting a 20mph sign in front of it is simply just signposting, it’s not actually doing what we want to do, which is reduce the speed down. 

“I notice in our own papers that even where we’ve said we don’t have other measures putting a 20mph zone in does reduce casualties by six per cent.  

“I think all of us here will be saying that’s a very good thing to be doing and something that we should be doing even when it’s outside of the 24mph limit that we keep mentioning.” 

Cllr Simon King at Cambridgeshire County Council elections

Cllr Simon King said the county council needs to make sure any changes to speed limits are supported by the community. - Credit: Harry Rutter

Another point raised at the meeting was the importance of the 20mph zones needing to be supported by the community. 

Cllr Simon King said the changes need to be from the “bottom up” and that the county council needs to make sure any changes to speed limits are supported by the community. 

The committee agreed for a cross-party working group to be set up to develop the 20mph schemes.  

Prioritisation parameters were also agreed, subject to further work of the working group in light of the discussion around expanding the parameters.