With the possibility that the prime minister is looking to curb councils introducing 20mph zones, there is now uncertainty whether the programme which has already started in Cornwall will continue.
Cornwall Council’s cabinet agreed in March to continue with its rollout of 20mph zones in built-up areas in a move to improve safety on roads.
Jayne Kirkham, Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate for Truro and Falmouth, asked on social media recently: “So is Cornwall Council going to be ‘allowed’ to bring in the 20mph zone that the Conservative administration are supporting then Rishi Sunak?”
Cornwall Council’s communications department said it would only comment on the future of the zones in the Duchy if the PM made an official announcement.
However, a spokesperson for the council added: “We have been introducing 20mph speed limits in Cornwall in areas where the local communities have asked us to.
“A recent review of the first phase of the 20mph roll out was positive, with reduced speeds recorded at most sites. Research has shown that lowering speed limits from 30mph to 20mph reduces casualties and increases activity levels by encouraging more people to walk, scoot or cycle.
“It’s about making residential streets safer and ensuring everyone plays their part in helping to create accessible and liveable streets for all.
“The 20mph programme has widespread support from residents, with the council receiving numerous requests from communities across Cornwall wanting to see speed limits reduced in their area.
“We will continue to listen and work with these local communities to roll out 20mph where the conditions are right.”
The scheme has already been successfully piloted in Falmouth, Camelford and Penryn and was set to be rolled out across Cornwall.
“The scheme would cut the speed limit in areas currently 30mph to 20mph with new signage.”
Cabinet members said earlier this year that the 20mph scheme had been a key manifesto promise for the Conservatives before the local elections in 2021 and they were keen to ensure that it does get rolled out across Cornwall.
Connor Donnithorne, who was portfolio holder for transport at the time, said: “The clear message I hear wherever I visit in Cornwall is that communities are desperate for their roads in their villages and towns to be safer and this delivers a key part on that desire which is quite passionate in Cornwall.”
The schedule for the rollout of the 20mph, with Phase 1 completed in Falmouth, Penryn and Camelford, is as follows:
• Phase 2 (2023) – Camborne, Pool, Redruth, Illogan; West Penwith; Truro and the Roseland
• Phase 3 (2024) – Hayle and St Ives; St Austell and Mevagissey; Newquay and St Columb; Cornwall Gateway (Saltash and Torpoint area); Liskeard and Looe; China Clay area
• Phase 4 (2025) – Helston and South Kerrier; Bude; Launceston
• Phase 5 (2026) – Wadebridge and Padstow; Bodmin; Caradon (Callington and Calstock area); St Blazey, Fowey and Lostwithiel; St Agnes and Perranporth.