Council acts on community support for reducing speed limit to 20mph in residential areas

A 20mph road sign

Work has begun to install signs and road markings in Falmouth and Penryn, and Camelford, reflecting community support in those areas to reduce the speed limit on residential roads from 30mph to 20mph.

Residents in those areas were consulted on the plans to encourage drivers to slow down by reducing speed limits to 20mph on more roads, except on those where there is a clear need to retain the current speed limit.

The Council will amend signs and markings on more than 700 roads during May.

Philip Desmonde, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for transport, said: “This first roll out of a 20mph speed limit on residential roads in two community network areas – Falmouth and Penryn, and Camelford – has the support of local communities with 76% of those who responded to the local consultation in Falmouth and Penryn in favour, and 85% in Camelford.

“We are starting work straight away to erect new signs and work with our residents to promote safe, supportive communities where we can all play a part in helping each other to live well.”

Research shows 20mph speed limits provide road safety, society and environmental benefits, including: 

  • Making streets safer and reducing casualties 
  • Increasing activity levels, as lower speeds encourage more to walk, scoot or cycle 
  • Support tackling climate change through lower emissions and less congestion 
  • Create a stronger sense of place, by creating accessible, liveable streets for all.

Andy Virr, Cornwall Council cabinet portfolio holder for adults and public health, said: “Walking and cycling have significant benefits for our physical and mental health. Research shows that people who take regular physical activity, such as walking or cycling, are at lower risk of major illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease. People are more likely to walk or cycle in places where they feel safe, which is why it’s important drivers slow down in residential areas and consider other road users.”

With more than 150 requests to reduce 30mph speed limits on roads across Cornwall, Falmouth and Penryn and Camelford will be the areas where the change is introduced as part of the first phase of lowering speed limits on residential roads.

Dean Evans, Falmouth councillor and from the 20 is Plenty campaign, said: “Reducing traffic speeds in built up areas is the single most cost effective action we can take to make our roads safer and our communities even better places to live. We congratulate Cornwall Council on its work to introduce wide area 20mph limits in the Falmouth and Penryn area and in Camelford and the surrounding area.”

The evaluation of this first phase will be presented to the Council’s Economic Growth and Development Overview and Scrutiny Committee to then consider the potential for 20mph to become the default speed limit for residential roads in Cornwall. Final approval of wider Cornwall deployment will be for the Council’s Cabinet to consider.

Cllr Desmonde added: “We want to encourage people to travel in ways that are safe, sustainable and healthy. In many places inappropriate speed limits make movement dangerous where people live, work and play – particularly for vulnerable road users such as children and elderly people.   

“The volume of requests we have received demonstrates how important an issue this is for our communities who want to see lower speeds on residential roads. We know that lower speeds mean fewer serious accidents, but it can also contribute to improving air quality and combating climate change.”   

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