Communities that want to reduce the speed of their roads from 30mph to 20mph will find it easier after an £8 million budget was agreed to accelerate the process across Oxfordshire.
This week, Oxfordshire County Council approved its 2022/23 budget, which included funding for a three-year programme to support the implementation of 20mph roads across Oxfordshire. The money will pay for sign-only measures and the intention is to encourage more walking and cycling and create safer and more pleasant places for communities.
Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “I’m delighted that my fellow council members have voted through a truly exciting and ambitious budget that recognises that travel and transport plans are fundamental to reducing our carbon emissions in Oxfordshire. Our policies can also make our towns, villages safer, happier, and less polluted place to live.
“To encourage cycling and walking we are investing £8m in a programme to make 20mph the new normal in residential areas across Oxfordshire. We are also putting aside £6m to support our bid to government with the bus companies for electric buses. We recognise that if people are to willingly leave their cars at home, we must provide exceptional alternative forms of transport. Under this alliance no-one will be left behind as we move towards a more sustainable people-centric transport network.”
Since the council’s Cabinet approved the new 20mph policy in October 2021, 70 communities have applied to be included in the scheme. Officers are now developing a programme to deliver this first tranche, which will include 20mph schemes within Oxford and around many of its towns and rural villages.
However, more applications are welcomed from communities who want to be included in the next phases. The scheme is free to town and parish councils, with the county council funding sign-only changes for areas wishing to be part of the changes as long as locations meet the agreed criteria for 20mph restrictions.
Town and parish councils will be expected to fund any traffic calming measures or speed-activated signs that may be required to further reduce speeds in their areas.
Applications for 20mph streets and roads need to be supported by the parish or town council and by the relevant local county councillor.
Oxfordshire County Council has already been developing 20mph pilot sites to test the impact of the policy on neighbourhoods. Roads in Cuxham, Long Wittenham and Wallingford Central have been cut to 20mph, while similar pilot schemes are planned for Wallingford North and Kirtlington. Data from the sites will start being analysed in the coming weeks.