Wiltshire Publications

Is 20 plenty for town’s residential roads?

ANambitious concept to reduce speed limits in residential areas to 20mph is being taken up by Wiltshire Liberal Democrats.

At an annual meeting of the Liberal Democrats in Brighton last month, ministers called on all councils to cut speed limits in residential areas to 20mph. Now, Leader of Wiltshire Liberal Democrat party cllr Jon Hubbard says he will pressure Wiltshire Council to let local people choose whether they want a 20mph speed limit near their home or not.

He said, “We are conditioned to believe that driving at 30mph in a built up area is a safe speed. It is actually quite dangerous. All across the country 20mph limits are being imposed and Wiltshire Council is dragging its feet on this one. There is a big difference between 20mph limits and 20mph zones. Limits, which are what we would like to see, are repeater signs, whereas zones involve chicanes and speed alleviation measures. If people see a 20mph sign, they are more likely to drive at that speed, rather then 30mph or even 35mph.

“In Wiltshire we will continue to pressure the administration at County Hall to let local people choose to introduce 20 limits on residential roads where appropriate.”

Wiltshire councillor for Westbury North and fellow Liberal Democrat David Jenkins said, “I think the idea is great, certainly from the road safety point of view and the safety of pedestrians. Obviously at the moment it’s in the consultation stage, if that can be passed we can be trying out different places and listening to local residents to see what suitable areas there are.

“We should encourage these limits, the sooner they are introduced the better.”

Wiltshire Council say that they have begun trialling 20mph speed limits in villages across the county and will look to implement these soon.

A spokesperson for Wiltshire Council said, “Road safety is always a key priority for Wiltshire Council. It is important 20mph limits are applied to areas where they can be most effective so we can achieve an overall community benefit and ensure we spend taxpayers money wisely.

“In recognition of this we have been carrying out a number of 20mph trials in Wiltshire villages during the past 18 months and the results are currently being evaluated. The results, together with the revised Department for Transport guidance, will assist us in establishing a clear policy on the future use of 20mph limits in the county.”

 What do you think? Would residential areas in Westbury benefit from 20mph speed limits? Email whitehorsenews@btconnect.com or write to 31 Market Place, Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 6ES.