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Council will investigate 20mph limits across Warwickshire

Speed limits could be dropping in Warwickshire after the county council agreed to look into the benefits of reducing limits to 20mph in residential areas.

Warwickshire County Council (49039558)
Warwickshire County Council (49039558)

During last week’s Full Council meeting, Green councillor Jonathan Chilvers called on the authority to reduce the limit in all residential areas across the county to help prevent accidents and save lives.

The Greens proposal for a ‘costed plan for cabinet consideration’ was given all party backing although a number of Conservative councillors urged caution, warning one size did not fit all.

Mr Chilvers said: “There is something for which there is an appetite for. The evidence in other places is that the wider you adopt a 20mph limit the better the compliance – you just know when you come into a town or a village that you are in a ‘20’.

“In 2019 in Warwickshire, there were 629 casualties in 30mph areas and the evidence from all the other places that have done this is that they see at least a 20 per cent casualty reduction – that would be more than 100 accidents a year that would not happen.

“The estimate is that it would cost us about £2.2m as a county to change the signs and change all the traffic regulation orders. As a society we would get that money back in police time and NHS time in just over a year.

“It is a big decision for us because it will affect all of our residents.”

Although councillors didn’t agree to reduce speed limits at the meeting, they did unanimously support the idea of setting up a cross party working group to look into the evidence, cost, impact and benefits of introducing 20mph limits in residential areas.

Roads surrounding schools would also be the focus of investigations.

The group’s conclusions will form part of the council’s Speed Management Strategy refresh, expected to be considered by Cabinet in January.

Although cautiously welcoming the proposal, Conservative Cllr Wallace Redford the county council’s portfolio holder for transport and planning, said: “It is important to realise that one size does not fit all. Careful consideration has got to be given to the wishes of residents – not all will welcome a 20mph zone.”

Following the meeting, Mr Chilvers added: "I'm disappointed that the Conservatives didn't want to make a firmer move towards 20mph limits, but this is a good first step. 20mph limits in residential areas are proven to reduce road accidents by at least 20%. This isn't about putting expensive and controversial speed humps in, but creating a better place for us all to live and travel about in.

“Some councillors were worried about whether residents would want their street to have a 20mph limit. Please do contact your local County Councillor to let them know what you think."

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