The Liberal Democrat conference has called on English councils to “actively consider” introducing a maximum 20mph speed limit in all residential roads (BBC News), a move that has been welcomed by Brake the road safety charity.
Conference delegates supported plans to move towards 20mph limits on residential streets “over the next few years”, but rejected a call for a mandatory change to be implemented over the next decade.
While the conference vote is not binding on the Government the Lib Dems hope it will influence policy.
A motion put forward by Sarah Osborne, a councillor in Lewes in East Sussex, called for the switch to 20mph to be phased in over 10 years, but this was amended. Party members approved the amendment, – agreeing the process should be driven by local councils, not central Government – and should not be mandatory.
BBC News reported that 20mph zones in residential areas in cities including Brighton, Oxford, Bath and Portsmouth have proved popular and “made roads safer”. Campaigners say that secondary benefits include reduced congestion and emissions and that the cost of changing street signs is small compared with the benefit of fewer lost lives.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of Brake, said: “Brake strongly welcomes this recognition by the Liberal Democrats that 20mph is the most appropriate speed limit on residential streets. Slowing down to 20 gives drivers far more chance to react in an emergency and avoid hitting someone, significantly reducing the threat posed to the most vulnerable road users.
“There is a huge amount of enthusiasm at the moment for enabling people to live healthy, active lifestyles as a post-2012 legacy. We know fast traffic is a major barrier to this. 20mph limits are evidenced to make walking and cycling safer and they are widely supported.”
Click here to read the full BBC News report.