ALL Pendle’s residential streets not on key routes will have 20 m.p.h. speed limits within the next three years, Lancashire County Council has confirmed.
The policy is to encourage people to drive slower on side streets to reduce the number of fatal and serious accidents, of which the North-West has among the worst rates.
But it does not involve laying down humps and chicanes on the streets - simply installing signs to bring in the 20 m.p.h. limit. And it does not affect key routes like A and B roads - simply residential areas off the main roads themselves.
The NHS has just released details about the North-West having a bad record on accidents.
Lancashire County Council is already carrying out experiments on the scheme in Burnley, Morecambe and Preston.
A spokesman said: “We are trying to encourage a change of mindset. We will be working with communities to look at speed enforcement. We will be providing volunteer groups in the community with speed guns so that they can control the drivers in their own community.
“But the police have said they will keep enforcing it in targeted areas.”
He said the scheme aimed to get people used to driving slower because of the fact the area was one of the worst in the county. “It’s a way of doing that,” he said. “No formal decision has been made but it is a Lancashire County Council policy.”
The project will cost around £9m. over three years, but that is far less than the idea of laying humps and chicanes.
County Coun. Tim Ashton, Cabinet member responsible for highways and transport, said: “It is a hearts and minds thing to reduce speeds and it is not going to happen overnight. We will keep the main roads moving, and the police say they will impose it on a target basis.”
On the Community Road Watch speed-check process, he said: “The community volunteers are more likely to persuade neighbours to slow down if they knock on their door.”
Coun. Ashton pointed out very young children in deprived areas were among the most likely to get knocked down. He revealed the first year of the exercise would concentrate on areas around schools to cut accidents.
And he added: “There will be no humps and no chicanes, which would cost more than tenfold than the signs schemes. A lot of people don’t like humps and chicanes.”
He added that, following the experimental scheme in Preston, people seem to like the idea. “Research has showed people are happy about the 20 m.p.h. areas. They feel safer after three months. If we can get more people to cycle or walk to school, that will have an effect, too.”