English county say they are following Wales as they cut town’s speed limits to 20mph
An English county have said that they are following Wales as they decided to cut a town’s speed limit to 20mph.
Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for highways management, said speed limits would be reduced to 20mph in Witney’s residential areas following a decision to do so in Wales.
The new legislation in Wales will not apply a blanket speed limit on all roads, but rather will make the default limit 20mph, leaving local authorities to engage with the local community to decide which roads should remain at 30mph.
However, Cllr Andrew Gant said that the legislation in Wales had shown that 20mph was the way forward.
“The recent decision in Wales shows that 20mph is becoming the accepted speed limit for residential areas, and Oxfordshire County Council is at the forefront of bringing about that change,” he told the Daily Mail.
“It is well-known that the survival rate for people involved in accidents increases as speeds are reduced.”
Witney is the former constituency of Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, but Oxfordshire County Council is currently led by a Lib Dem, Labour and Green coalition, with the Conservatives the largest opposition party.
The changes in Witney are expected to be implemented later this year with new signage put up.
Monmouthshire MP and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Wales David TC Davies has become the latest to criticise the Welsh Government’s decision to cut encourage councils to cut the speed limit to 20mpoh in residential areas.
He said the move has attracted controversy in Monmouthshire where there have been a pilot, with some motorists complaining of more congestion and journeys taking longer.
“Welsh Conservatives have no problem with a 20mph speed limit if it is necessary for safety, such as outside schools, children’s playgrounds, health centres in housing estates and heavily pedestrianised areas,” he said.
“But to impose a blanket rollout on all residential roads is nonsense.
“One of the biggest complaints I have heard from locals in Abergavenny and Severnside, where 20mph trials were held, is that it actually attracts poor driving behaviour as frustrated motorists are overtaking in areas where it is not suitable. There have also been reports of cyclists overtaking vehicles.”
Mr Davies said the Welsh Government should be improving infrastructure and involving the community rather than “wasting £32m on an illogical scheme”.
“Give us the cycle lanes and better public transport links first, especially in rural areas which are badly served,” he added.
“Give local people and local councils the power to decide these speed limits as they are the very people who know our roads best.
“The Welsh Labour Government should be concentrating on the job in hand and focussing on issues such as the global cost of living challenge. In the current economic climate, I fail to see how this £32m scheme is money well spent.”
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