Thame and Wallingford among latest areas to have 20mph limits approved

today15/12/2023 34

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Wallingford and Thame are the latest Oxfordshire towns to embrace a safer and healthier lifestyle by implementing 20mph speed limits in residential areas.

This initiative, part of a broader movement to enhance street safety, was approved on 14 December by Councillor Andrew Gant, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Management. Alongside Wallingford and Thame, 16 other locations have been given the go-ahead for this change.

The list of areas adopting the 20mph limits includes Alvescot, Ardington & Lockinge, Backthorn, Brightwell-cum-Sotwell, Buckland, Toot Baldon & Marsh Baldon, Dorchester, Elsfield, Charney Bassett, Kingham, Longworth, Sandford St Martin, Upton, Stanton Harcourt, Yarnton, and the Green Lane area of Ewelme.

Cllr Gant highlighted the significance of this policy shift: “This is another landmark moment for our 20mph policy. We believe these changes will make these towns and villages safer, quieter and less polluted places and will encourage more people to cycle and walk – reducing the county’s carbon footprint. There is a clear link between the speed of traffic and the likelihood of accidents happening in which people are killed or injured. You are seven times more likely to survive if you are hit by a car driving at 20mph than if you are hit at 30mph.”

The project, estimated at £8 million over three years, aims to implement 20mph limits in about 234 of the 310 parishes in Oxfordshire. Other towns like Witney and Abingdon have already adopted these limits.

The county council will bear the cost of sign-only changes for areas that meet the criteria for 20mph restrictions, making the scheme free for town and parish councils.

However, town and parish councils will need to fund any additional traffic calming measures or speed-activated signs required to reinforce the new speed limit in their areas.

While Thames Valley Police is involved, the council’s focus is on encouraging drivers to voluntarily comply with the new limits, aiming to make exceeding 20mph socially unacceptable.

This 20mph programme is also aligned with the council’s Vision Zero policy, which seeks to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from Oxfordshire’s roads by 2050.

Written by: Hamish Law

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