A new way of considering 20mph speed limit requests has been approved by Cabinet, and it will help ensure that the communities that would most benefit from lower vehicle speeds are considered first.
Devon County Council’s (DCC) Cabinet (Wednesday December 8) also identified a budget of £100,000 to process the requests for the upcoming financial year.
Currently, all requests by communities and councillors for 20mph speed limits are put onto a long waiting list.
But because of the high number of requests Devon County Council is receiving a ‘prioritisation system’ is now needed.
Now all requests for a 20mph speed limit will be considered taking against into account the average speed in that community and the number of vulnerable and elderly people in that area.
Other factors to be considered will be the speed related casualty collision history in the area, the level support for a 20mph within in the community, the presence of an active Community Speed Watch and the community’s deprivation index ranking.
There are numerous 20mph speed schemes in the UK. The scheme in Bristol for example has shown that lower speed limits reduce the number and severity of collisions and increase cycling and walking over shorter distances.
They can also reduce congestion by improving traffic flows, reduce emissions and improve air quality and help vulnerable road users, who feel threatened by fast-moving traffic, feel safer.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management said:
“This is a common-sense approach – we receive so many requests there has to be a fair way to help us focus our resources effectively. We had considered looking at each request in order of the population size of a community, but while this may help greater numbers of people it would not target areas with the greatest need. It’s a simple system, but it will hopefully remove the current frustration being felt by some communities that any new scheme must wait for the outcome of the Newton Abbot 20 mph Pilot Scheme before they can progress.”
The new framework will be in place to consider schemes in the 2022/2023 financial year.