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

Wallingford and Thame have become the latest major Oxfordshire towns to adopt 20mph speed limits in residential areas to create safer, healthier and quieter streets.

They were among 18 applications for 20mph limits to be approved by Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport Management, Councillor Andrew Gant, on 14 December.

The others were 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 said: “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.”

Plans have been approved or are being worked on to implement 20mph limits in about 234 of the 310 parishes in Oxfordshire over the £8 million project’s three year period. Other towns to have adopted 20mph limits already include Witney and Abingdon.

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 support the new limit in their areas.

While the council has been working alongside Thames Valley Police, the emphasis is on drivers adhering to the new limits through a change of mindset, rather than enforcement. It is hoped that as 20mph areas become more common, breaking the limit will become socially unacceptable for drivers.

The 20mph programme also fits in with the council’s Vision Zero policy, which aims to eliminate all deaths and serious injuries from Oxfordshire’s roads by 2050.

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