I was delighted to attend the cabinet meeting last night where Cheshire West and Chester Council approved the delegation of powers to officers for the roll-out of mandatory 20mph limits for most residential roads throughout the borough. The local 20's Plenty for Chester group were celebrating the success of many years campaigning for 20mph limits and the developing public and political support for lower speed limits in community streets.
The decision waived the previous red tape and administrative overhead which had historically been imposed on communities and now the council is taking direct responsibility for the setting of 20mph limits. The council has approved a plan to deliver this important initiative in communities across the borough over a 4 year period.
The cabinet approved the following :-
(1) To approve the implementation of 20 mph limits on residential roads across the Borough where mean speeds on most roads are currently less than 24 mph and around schools where the mean speed is currently less than 30 mph.
(2) To endorse the preparation and development of a report detailing which areas would benefit the most from the revised speed limit how the schemes would be prioritised and a work programme formulated for consultation.
(3) Include £200,000 per year for four years within the Council’s capital programme to be funded from LTP grant or other available external funding.
(4) To approve appropriate delegated powers and authority to enable the Head of Service (Place Operations) in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Infrastructure, to develop and implement the programme for roll out of 20 mph speed limits in residential areas and around schools.
(5) To approve the change to consultation requirements, to streamline the process for introduction of 20 mph speed limits.
Consultations will be conducted in the normal manner within the Traffic Regulation Orders. Experience in other authorities shows that whilst there will be some objections against initial phases these are rarely credible and non-existent in subsequent phases. Of course social attitude surveys consistently show support of 60-80% of people in favour of 20mph limits for residential roads, as well as strong support from public health, emergency services, child and elderly organisations and central government.
This decision adds Cheshire West and Chester to the growing number of Traffic Authorities with distributed communities that are seeing wide-area 20mph limits as a cost-effective and important measure to increase liveability, access, active travel and air quality in communities.
Maps showing the draft plans for 20mph roll-out may be downloaded here.