Cabinet votes to roll out 20mph speed limits in residential areas across Cheshire West and Chester

12 January 2016

Cheshire West and Chester Council’s Cabinet has voted to roll out 20mph speed limits in residential areas with particular focus around schools.

The aim is to reduce road collisions, encourage more children to walk to school and reduce pollution.

The widespread introduction will concentrate on roads where mean speeds are currently less than 24 mph and around schools where the mean speed is currently less than 30mph.

As part of the preparation for the roll out, speed limit assessments will be undertaken to gather information about the priorities for the programme.

Councillor Brian Clarke, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure said one of the biggest aims was to encourage more children to walk to school as well as reduce the number of road traffic collisions

 He said: “There are significant benefits with the introduction of 20mph speed limits and these will improve community cohesion and individual mental wellbeing with people spending more time in their street rather than trying to get away from the traffic that is actually there. People will feel safer to walk, to jog, to cycle.”

The former guidance for 20 mph limits will now be streamlined and proposed 20mph speed limits will be advertised through the normal route of a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO).

Councillor Clarke said: “The Council will take reasonable steps to ensure there is awareness in the local community of the proposals and we will consult with all interested parties – Police, local Councillors, Town and Parish Councils and all parties affected by the speed limit change. That is to ensure there is a clear understanding of any proposals within their area.” Councillor Clarke said that it may also be beneficial to leaflet residents, to inform them of the proposed changes and their ability to comment on the proposals as part of a TRO.

Before the debate, the meeting was addressed by Rod King MBE, the founder and campaign director of 20’s Plenty for Us.

He said: “Wide-spread 20mph limits are no longer isolated or controversial. Already 15 million people live in 20mph boroughs.

 “In 20’s Plenty we make much of the fact that most of the UK’s iconic cities have adopted a 20mph limit for most streets. I will be delighted to include Chester in that list.” 

Councillor Stuart Parker said he fully appreciated the desire to introduce 20mph speed limits but questioned how they could be enforced.

 He said: “The report indicates that although these 20mph speed limits would be in the main self – policing due to the congestion of roadside traffic within the urban areas, the police and community officers do not have the resources to physically monitor the speed of vehicles in these areas.”

Cabinet agreed to fund the 20mph schemes with a budget of £200,000 per year for four years. It also agreed to endorse the preparation and development of a report detailing which areas would benefit the most from the revised speed limit, how the schemes would be prioritised and a work programme formulated for consultation.   

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