Some councils pressing ahead, others need more persuasion

Councils up and down the UK are beginning to come round to the idea of 20mph speed limits on city and residential streets, but there still remains some resistance to the idea.

All residential roads in Lancashire, however, will be subject to a blanket 20mph speed limit by 2013 if the County Council get its way, reports BBC News, Lancashire.

The move would be part of a £9m plan by the authority to reduce the number of road deaths and injuries in the county.

County councillor Tim Ashton, who is responsible for transport, said:
"I hope within a generation we will change hearts and minds - we must make people aware it's not right to speed in residential areas,"

"We're going to start outside schools, that's my main concern in the first year and we will roll it out to the other residential areas after that."

Meanwhile hopes for a blanket 20mph speed limit across York have suffered a setback after a senior councillor stated that the city would not be able to find the £1m needed to pay for the move this year, reports the Yorkshire Post.

Campaigners have already pointed out that a reduced speed limit could save many times the cost of its implementation, but Councillor Steve Galloway, executive member for city strategy, maintains that the council cannot afford it.

"I do not believe that we can spend up to a million pounds on a scheme like that", he told the Post.

"Most of our budget over the next year is already committed.

"We have consulted on a 20mph zone throughout the city and we have the results of that consultation."

While a final decision has not yet been made, the result appears to be a foregone conclusion as a council report into the 20mph zone is to be considered by Councillor Galloway next week before a final decision is expected to be made sometime around March.

Anna Semlyen, manager of the 20s Plenty campaign in York, told the Post: "This is too important to be brushed under the carpet.

"The longer we have to wait for this, the more children and adults will die on the roads unnecessarily.People want this and the statistics support this.

"It is not as if the accident rates are not costing us a lot of money now."

Councillor Dave Merrett, the York Labour Group's spokesman for city strategy, told the ‘paper: "There was extremely strong public support for a city-wide 20mph speed limit in residential areas because it is the right thing to do.

"We need to change hearts and minds along the lines of the 20s plenty campaign that is being adopted by a number of other urban areas if we are to make our streets safer places to be. Reducing the dominance of vehicles in our residential streets will make York a better place to live."

Meanwhile in Cardiff, the council has been told that 20mph zones are  'unpopular but work,' by a cycling strategist, reports the Guardian.

But city councillors have stated that a new cycle network proposed as part of a citywide plan, would need to meet the needs of pedestrians and motorists as well.

The Guardian reports that the five-year cycle plan proposes a 20mph zone for the city's Cathays district, and improved links for a core network of cycle routes across the city – with more than 100 schemes costing a total of £6.5m proposed to improve cycle routes across the city.

Andy Mayo, director of Local Transport Projects Ltd told a council committee:
"20mph zones work – it's not always popular but if properly designed and implemented well, it can be a marvellous tool to make it a more cycle friendly city."

Cathays councillor, Simon Pickard said: "From my point of view it's got to be that the strategy goes beyond a list of schemes and addresses the structural barriers that stop people cycling.

"The next stage for this plan should be to speak to councillors in their wards about their schemes and what residents are saying about them."

Elizabeth Clarke, also councillor for Cathays, said: "Many cars can't go over 20mph anyway. This needs to win over the hearts of people as there's a lot of conflict there – the city centre trial was dropped because it could not marry the needs of the community. I want this to work but there are so many issues I have with it."