Speed limit trial will pave the way for safer Devon roads

Twenty MPH speed sigh on road

Sidmouth and Newton Poppleford 20mph speed limit requests have been received - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

I receive many calls and emails from residents across Devon concerned about speeding and requesting that consideration should be given to introducing a 20mph speed limit in their village, town, outside the local school or on certain residential roads.
Well, as a result of a great piece of scrutiny work, the Cabinet agreed that a 
Speed Management Working Group (SMWG) should be established to specifically look at trialling a scheme in Newton Abbot. The group comprises: Devon County Council road safety officers, neighbourhood highways team, members of the county’s traffic team, public health team, comms team and police road casualty reduction and traffic management officers. (This was back in December 2019).
The Speed Management Working Group have, during the last year, considered different options based on extensive research of 20mph schemes across the UK and beyond. Evidence demonstrates that while 85% of speeds reduce slightly by 1-2 mph, higher speeds can be reduced significantly, particularly on higher-speed main roads (which are normally excluded), leading to lower collision rates and severity. In addition, vulnerable road users feel safer, leading to increases in active/sustainable travel and an improvement in the character of the area. In order to gain the greatest potential benefit from the trial and to increase the value of lessons learnt, the group agreed the following parameters: that the trial scheme should be extended to include all the roads through the built-up area, including main roads and that extensive ‘before and after’ data should be gathered, including the views of local people, to measure the success of the scheme.
The results of the trial will inform future policy on 20mph speed limits and if successful a roll out across the county. At present I can confirm that preliminary design work and consultations have already been undertaken.
As an interim policy for 20mph speed limit requests, it has been resolved to defer implementation of any new 20mph zones until after the Newton Abbot trial scheme has been completed and reviewed, as the success or otherwise of that scheme will directly impact future policy. Therefore, any requests received will be added to a central waiting list and to that end I've already added Sidmouth town centre and the Temple Street local centre to the list and also submitted a request from Newton Poppleford Parish Council.
I would suggest that you contact your local county councillor if you believe your community would benefit from a 20mph speed limit.

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