The new Conservative Calderdale Council leadership has assured Labour members that they will implement the 20mph policy they were set to introduce.
Calderdale will be the first local authority in West Yorkshire to declare that ‘twenty is plenty’, in a move that will see 20mph become the default speed limit in all residential areas across the borough.
Council leader, Coun Stephen Baines (Con, Northowram and Shelf) said there are no plans to challenge the policy, originally proposed by the Labour council.
The policy was prompted by figures showing that, between 2010 and 2012, the proportion of children who were killed or seriously injured in road traffic accidents in Calderdale was almost twice the average for England.
In light of the news, Labour’s Health Ineqaulities Spokesman, Coun Simon Young (Lab, Luddenden Foot), said: “Traffic speed is a huge issue for residents in every corner of Calderdale and Labour’s 20mph policy takes real action to address both the problems and perception of speeding traffic through our communities,” he said.
“The speed of a vehicle is the single main factor that contributes to road fatalities and a recent study found that 45 per cent of pedestrians are killed when struck by vehicles travelling at less than 30mph, dropping massively to 5% at speeds below 20mph.
“The facts really speak for themselves.
“This is good for the safety of our residents, good for the health of our residents, good for the environment, good for the community at large.”
The Calderdale Labour Party also say that the move will increase opportunities for people to take part in activities which improve health and encourage the use of more sustainable forms of transport.
Calderdale Council’s head of planning and highways, Geoff Willerton, said: “Residents have told us how important it is to reduce speed on Calderdale’s roads.
“Our aim is to make our residential streets safe and pleasant for everyone, however they travel and wherever they live – reflecting schemes across the UK.
“We need to reduce the number and seriousness of road casualties in Calderdale, and our 20mph campaign is part of this.
“By driving at 20mph in residential areas we can bring more benefits to our community than just safer speeds.
“These include improving quality of life and encouraging more active travel like walking and cycling, which help make people healthier.
“Anyone who wishes to be involved with our 20mph marketing campaign can email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get in touch over the next few weeks with more information.”
The scheme is due to take around three years to be rolled out and will be funded by £500,000 from Council Public Health funds and around £520,000 from the Local Transport Plan.