20mph speed limits set to improve road safety

Westmorland and Furness Council is investing £300,000 of ringfenced funding to introduce 28, 20mph schemes in 2024/25

Community-backed 20mph speed limits are set to be introduced across Westmorland and Furness thanks to the Council’s new road safety initiative.

The Council is investing £300,000 of ringfenced funding to introduce 28, 20mph schemes which have been prioritised for delivery following approval at Locality Boards.

Introducing 20mph speed limits in the correct places across the area has been identified as one of the Council’s key priorities to promote safer roads, reduce vehicle noise and enhance the environment for walking and cycling.

In December last year, Westmorland and Furness Council launched a new streamlined route which made it easier and quicker for communities to submit requests for 20mph speed limits. The new process accelerated applications by several months, resulting in a total of 49 requests for 79 schemes across the area.

A further 40 eligible requests for 20mph limits were received as a part of the initial application process. It is the Council’s ambition to deliver all schemes by 2027, subject to additional funding, through working together with Town and Parish Councils and local communities. For these schemes, further work is required including gathering traffic data and determining the potential impact of reduced speed limits in the area to ensure they offer maximum benefit.

Schemes have been prioritised based on the level of community support demonstrated in the application, and considerations including evidence of accidents or incidents, whether the road is on a school walking route, the number of pedestrians walking along or crossing the road and deliverability of the scheme.

Phil Greenup, Assistant Director for Sustainable Transport and Highways at Westmorland and Furness Council said: “The volume of requests for 20mph speed limits demonstrates that our communities want to encourage people to travel safely through their town or village.

“Slower speeds create a safer and more welcoming environment, giving people the confidence to walk and cycle. Introducing 20mph limits will take us a significant step forward in our journey towards creating roads that prioritise people over speed and pave the way for safer more enjoyable journeys for all.

“We look forward to continuing working together with Town and Parish Councils and our residents to implement our community-driven investment in 20mph and road safety measures across our area.”

To ensure the schemes have the support of local residents, informal consultation will be undertaken in the coming months through working together with communities and Town or Parish Councils to allow further consideration and to address any valid concerns before schemes are progressed.

Following this, statutory consultation and advertisement of the proposed TRO will be undertaken before a final decision on implementation is made by Westmorland and Furness Locality Boards.

Any additional measures beyond new 20mph signed limits – such as traffic calming – if needed or requested by the local community, would need to be funded separately.

The 20mph policy is one of 14 key projects identified as part of a £5 million priority investment programme by Westmorland and Furness Council. Other projects include funding for projects around biodiversity and nature, sustainable transport, social care, children, culture and education.

 


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