Pressure mounts for more 20mph roads

kristie edwards
kristie edwards

GREEN councillors have renewed their call for an extension of 20mph limits throughout the district in light of a new report highlighting road accident rates in the region.

The report, by directors of public health in the North West, points out that the region’s children are more likely to be injured on the roads than children anywhere else in the country.

More than four-fifths of child casualties occur on roads that have a speed limit of 30mph, and the report presents compelling evidence that lives could have been saved and injuries reduced if 20mph limits had been introduced in residential areas.

Road traffic casualty rates are measured for all local authorities in the North West, with Lancaster having 477 casualties per 100,000 population.

For killed and seriously injured casualties, the city rated eighth from the bottom (31 local authorities in the North West had fewer casualties than Lancaster).

Seventy-nine people are killed or seriously injured per 100,000 population in Lancaster.

Coun John Whitelegg said: “This is an incredibly important report.

“It says we have a serious problem with death and injury on the roads and it says the solution is a 20mph limit. I agree.”

Lancashire County Council is currently piloting three 20mph residential schemes, including one in Morecambe’s West End. This is expected to be rolled out countywide by 2013 at a cost of £9m. County Coun Tim Ashton, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “I’m determined to reduce the numbers of people killed and injured on our roads.

“By introducing 20mph limits in all residential areas we will be able to encourage people to drive more slowly and that will certainly save lives.

“It will take time and we’ll need to communicate clearly with people about the benefits of introducing lower limits but the aim is for 20mph to be accepted as the normal speed for driving in residential areas.

“It’s also important for people to realise that commuter routes, trunk roads and main roads will not be affected – we need to keep traffic flowing and make sure people can live their normal lives – introducing 20mph is about saving lives on residential roads.”