Devon County Council Reveals Six Towns Selected for New 20mph Zones
Devon County Council has announced its decision to introduce new 20mph schemes in six towns: Black Torrington, Bridgerule, and Dolton in Torridge; Cockwood and Dawlish in Teignbridge; and Uffculme in Mid Devon. These towns were chosen based on a priority system implemented two years ago, which helps the council prioritize the numerous requests received for 20mph zones.
The priority system takes into consideration various factors, including average speeds at key locations, the presence of vulnerable road users, historical speed-related collision records, and community support for the implementation of a 20mph scheme.
This year, the council received a total of 57 expressions of interest from local communities. However, with a budget of £150,000 allocated for the project and an average cost of £25,000 per scheme, the council could only afford to proceed with six.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, cabinet member for highways, expressed his satisfaction with the selection process, stating that while not every community could be accommodated, focusing on areas with the greatest need ensures that limited resources are utilized where they can have the most significant impact.
The council plans to initiate the initial design work on these six schemes, subject them to a safety audit, and collaborate with local elected members before advertising them. They also intend to continue implementing 20mph speed limits in response to community demands, as it promotes safety, encourages active travel, and makes walking and cycling safer and more accessible.
Last year, four areas out of 105 were chosen for lower speed limits, including selected parts of Tiverton and Winkleigh, as well as all roads in Atherington (North Devon) and Ashburton.
However, Julian Brazil, the opposition leader from Kingsbridge, voiced concerns about the slow pace of implementing lower speed limits. At a recent cabinet meeting, he questioned why Cornwall could implement 20mph zones across the entire county within a few years while Devon struggled to implement just six out of over 150 requested schemes in the next year. He called for more proactive measures to meet community expectations.
Councillor Hughes previously stated in December that the council would be open to funding additional schemes if extra resources became available and invited parish councils to participate by contributing to the cost of the schemes if interested.