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Council supports 20mph limit on new Cambridgeshire residential roads

19 October 2022

A motion to put a 20mph speed limit on any new residential road being planned in Cambridgeshire, and work with developers to do the same for many others, has been supported by its Full Council.

The motion put by Cllr Philippa Slatter called on the council to establish a policy to implement 20mph – not 30mph - as the default speed limit on any new residential road as part of the planning process, and further to work with developers to identify opportunities for speed reductions on other residential roads recently or about to be adopted.

The proposal seconded by Cllr Mark Howell – and supported by members from all parties represented on the council, highlighted the evidence that road casualties are considerably reduced by introducing 20mph speed limits, with air quality and the uptake of more active travel such as walking and cycling also likely to be improved.

The council resolved to ask the Highways and Transport Committee to take steps to implement this new proposal as quickly as possible.

Most new housing developments are designed to encourage travel by cycle and foot, and the county is currently out to consultation on its active travel strategy, which focuses on improving more sustainable access to services and key destinations to support the climate emergency and to improve the health and wellbeing of Cambridgeshire residents.

Highway policy will seek a 20mph design speed on all new housing estate roads, and the county will require developers to promote and implement 20mph speed limits on their proposed new estate roads at no cost to the council.

For sites pre-dating this policy, the Highways and Transport committee will also be asked to consider a policy to adopt these roads at 20mph.

“As things stand, in many new roads about to be adopted, our officers will have to insist that developers put up 30mph signs, in some cases on roads which are routes to school, run alongside playgrounds and schools,” said Cllr Slatter. “We will be putting people in harm’s way. Yet, years later, after hours of work by residents and officers, these same roads will probably be subject to Traffic Regulation Orders reducing the speed to 20mph and the signs will need to be removed at public expense.”

Cllr Howell said: “What we are doing now will make a difference for ever more. It is something we can be proud of - it will save people lives.”

You can watch the full debate in the recording of October 18th’ Full Council meeting here.