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Campaign for widespread 20mph zones on Worcestershire roads
CALLS are being made for 20mph zones on half of Worcestershire’s roads – with plans to implement a pilot in the city.
During a passionate county council debate, members of the 20’s Plenty for Worcester campaign group argued why speeds of 30mph in urban areas are too fast.
Despite concerns the move could cost over £10m to fully implement, your Worcester News can reveal that six people have been killed on 30mph roads in the county since 2010 – as well as 184 people getting serious injuries.
Lyndon Bracewell, from 20’s Plenty for Worcester, told councillors the change would improve people’s health, potentially save lives and reduce the risk of serious injuries.
Speaking to the economy, environment and communities scrutiny panel, he said: “At 30mph you’ve got a seven times greater chance of being killed or injured.
“And when a car breaks at 30mph, as opposed to 20mph, the stopping distance is twice as long.
“If we went to 20mph it would reduce injuries and deaths.
“The interesting thing is that road crashes have dropped a lot in recent years, but that’s not the case for injuries to cyclists and pedestrians, that’s actually going up in the UK.
“A lot of cities have gone to 20mph, the government is encouraging it, and the biggest benefit is to people’s health.”
A report before the panel said the costs for Worcestershire would be £10m, assuming 50 per cent of the roads network would be suitable for the new limit.
Urban roads are defined as ones in or around residential areas, where the current default limits are generally 30mph.
It does not include major link roads, carriageways, or roads leading towards estates where speed limits are set higher.
But if the county council wanted to introduce traffic calming measures along them, like speed humps, it could reach just under £25m.
Some of the biggest costs would be consultations with the public, and new signage along the affected routes.
Councillor Ken Pollock, chairman of the panel, said he hoped the campaigners would not expect that sort of bill to fall on the council.
But Mr Bracewell said the costs can be disputed, pointing to the example of Lancashire.
When the county moved to adopt 20mph zones, the original cost was estimated at £9.3m, but it came in at under £5m.
The panel agreed to back proposals to have a consultation over launching a trial in Warndon, which is being called for by the parish council.
The model could then be rolled out to other areas if it gets public support.
Ray Warndon, from Warndon Parish Council, was at the meeting to say the area is “unique”, alongside Councillor Andy Roberts.
“We want Warndon [Villages] to launch a pilot of this, to see what people think,” he said.
“A lot of people see 30mph as the speed to reach, they don’t take it as a maximum, and we’ve had a lot of near misses in the past.”
The panel agreed to support the Warndon Villages proposal, and use it as a possible model for future roll-outs.
At the moment 20mph limits apply outside schools in Worcestershire.
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