Speed zones set for our streets

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MORE CHILD-saving speed limits are set to be rolled out across Leigh.

Council chiefs are set to announce a major new policy which will see the popular 20 mile per hour zones extended from their current position outside primary schools to encompass residential streets.

They are rolling out the programme to reduce accidents and fatalities among young pedestrians.

Council Leader and Leigh West ward Coun Peter Smith announced the new plans as part of his “State of the Borough” statement to Council yesterday (Wednesday April 25).

He said today that the new policy had come about because of three reasons.

Coun Smith said: “Firstly I have been approached by many Labour colleagues who reflect residents concerns about the safety of their local streets.

“Secondly we have seen the success of our existing speed limits around schools.

“Thirdly I have had a chance to examine the statistics of other places which have this policy.

“Accidents fall by more than half and the most serious affecting children fall by more than 60 per cent.

“With such dramatic improvements we will act to protect our children.”

Cabinet member with responsibility for road safety Coun Kevin Anderson pointed out that it “clearly won’t be possible” to do everything at once.

But the council will have an open plan to roll out 20 mph zones in those residential streets with the worst accident records first.

He said: “We will consult with local residents about additional traffic calming measures and work with the police on the implementation.

“We look forward to a big reduction in the number of families who have to cope with the tragedy of a road traffic accident for one of their children.”

Leader of the Opposition Coun Gary Wilkes (Independents) said that he agreed with the principle of introducing measures to slow traffic down on our roads.

But he accused the council of double standards in applying them.

He said: “I do feel the Council are saying one thing and doing another when it comes to road safety.

“We have just seen the Borough’s Area traffic engineers being cut yet again by the Labour Group, what we have is the same old wine but in new bottles, saying one thing and doing another.

“We need to ensure these zones are properly Policed and Enforced as I do not know of any driver being fined for exceeding the 20mph speed limit!”

Road safety charities say that reducing traffic speeds on our streets is the single biggest measure that will make them safer and more social.

If you are hit by a car at 35mph, your chance of survival, say experts, 50 per cent.

But if the car is travelling at 20mph, it leaps to more than 97 per cent.

They will also mean reducing emissions, meaning less airborne (and noise) pollution and a corresponding reduction in chest complaints.

l LOCAL GOVERNMENT election candidates in Leigh South Ward; Kevin Anderson (Labour); Gary Chadwick (BNP); Richard Short (Conservative).