Minister proposes more 20mph zones

Local councils will be able to introduce more 20mph zones without having to add traffic-calming measures under new proposals from the Government.

Previously, councils wanting to implement 20mph limits on certain roads could only do so in zones accompanied by measures such as speed humps.

Road safety minister Paul Clark said the decision to drop the requirement for additional measures follows early results from trials that showed even in "no-hump" areas with speed limits casualties were down by 15%.

He added: "We have seen that 20mph zones with traffic calming measures can make a real difference to the safety of local roads. 

"But we've also looked at the latest research and listened to councils and residents who want to introduce 20mph limits on a series of roads where physical traffic calming measures aren't possible or practical."

Councils are being encouraged to extend 20mph limits to residential streets and other roads where cycle and pedestrian traffic is high, such as around schools, shops and parks.

The Government is also urging them to review speed limits on rural roads by 2011, and consider lowering the 60mph limit on the most accident-prone single-carriageway A and B roads to around 50mph. 

RAC director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "Any changes to speed limits need to carry motorists with them.

"Draconian blanket changes risk alienating drivers and wasting resources. Applied correctly, road safety measures save not just lives but money, and it is worth spending time and effort to make sure policies are appropriate and respected by drivers."

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