New 20mph zones can be fast-tracked under changes

06 December 2022

Proposed new 20mph zones across Cambridgeshire can now be fast-tracked due to a new process agreed by a county council committee.

14 new 20mph zones are already being introduced across the county, but that is set to increase due to new proposals which were voted through today (6 December).

The council’s Highways and Transport Committee approved the new prioritisation criteria for new schemes to get the go ahead, which will encourage area-wide schemes with an emphasis on protecting vulnerable road users.

The committee has already set aside £400,000 up to 2024/25 to introduce new 20mph zones as part of a commitment made by the Joint Administration to make them more widely available to improve road safety, encourage more active travel and to reduce noise and pollution.

The new 20mph process and prioritisation criteria will widen the scope for which projects can be fast-tracked, alongside other criteria such as local support, improving safety and deliverability.

Cllr Neil Shailer, vice-chair of the Highways and Transport Committee, said: “20mph zones are proven to reduce road collisions, so I am delighted it will now be easier to get new schemes approved.

“We are determined to make our roads safer and to reduce pollution - both of which are a priority for the Joint Administration.”

Unlike a 20mph limit which covers individual or a small number of streets and requires signs only, 20mph zones typically cover larger areas and require both signs and markings.

The former is more cost effective, but the latter have been found to have a greater effect in reducing speed limits, especially when accompanied by traffic calming measures.

One of the current 20mph projects, in Oakington & Westwick, has been completed which, combined with a new footpath and traffic calming measures, has resulted in a reduction of the average speed from 36mph to 24mph.

The application process for new 20mph zones is expected to open next February with approvals coming in July.

The committee also heard about objections as part of consultations into proposed 20mph schemes in Barton, Somersham, Godmanchester and Duxford but decided to progress each one after officers addressed the issues raised.

In October, a motion calling on the council to establish a policy to implement 20mph – rather than 30mph - as the default speed limit on any new residential road as part of the planning process was approved.

It was noted at the meeting today that the requirements for a 20mph restriction to be provided on new developments will be adopted as county council policy.

The agenda from today’s meeting can be viewed on the council’s website. To watch a recording of the meeting, you can do so by visiting the council’s YouTube page.