THE council is investing £300,000 to introduce over 20 schemes to lower the speed limit to 20mph in a bid to improve road safety.

Members of locality boards for the Furness, Eden and South Lakeland local areas for Westmorland and Furness Council have approved the prioritising of 28, 20mph schemes for delivery in 2024/25.

A council report prepared for South Lakeland locality board meeting on April 25 states: “Introduction of 20mph have shown to make streets safer by reducing speeds and enabling an equitable use of the road space for all users, encourage residents to walk and cycle by reducing speeds, bring health benefits both physical and mental and reduce noise pollution by amending the way vehicles accelerate/ decelerate.”

This comes after in December 2023 the council launched a new streamlined route which made it easier and quicker for communities to submit requests for 20mph speed limits.

The council say schemes have been prioritised based on the level of community support demonstrated in the application, and considerations including evidence of accidents or incidents, whether the road is on a school walking route, the number of pedestrians walking along or crossing the road and deliverability of the scheme.

Phil Greenup, assistant director for sustainable transport and highways at Westmorland and Furness Council said: “The volume of requests for 20mph speed limits demonstrates that our communities want to encourage people to travel safely through their town or village.

“Slower speeds create a safer and more welcoming environment, giving people the confidence to walk and cycle. Introducing 20mph limits will take us a significant step forward in our journey towards creating roads that prioritise people over speed and pave the way for safer more enjoyable journeys for all.

“We look forward to continuing working together with Town and Parish Councils and our residents to implement our community-driven investment in 20mph and road safety measures across our area.”

To ensure the schemes have the support of local residents, informal consultation will be undertaken in the coming months through working together with communities and Town or Parish Councils to allow further consideration and to address any valid concerns before schemes are progressed.

Following this, statutory consultation and advertisement of the proposed traffic regulation order (TRO) will be undertaken before a final decision on implementation is made by Westmorland and Furness Locality Boards.

Any additional measures beyond new 20mph signed limits, such as traffic calming, if needed or requested by the local community, would need to be funded separately.

The 20mph schemes prioritised and approved for delivery in 2024/25 are:

Furness Locality: Hawcoat, Newbarns, Ormsgill, Roosecote and Walney North

Eden Locality: Askham, Crosby Ravensworth, Dufton, Kings Meaburn, Melmerby, Nenthead, Orton, Ousby, Glenridding and Patterdale, Ravenstonedale and Temple Sowerby

South Lakeland: Gleaston, Allinthwaite, Coniston, Oxenholme, Ambleside, Natland, Swathmoor, Sedgewick, Great Urswick and Little Urswick and Bowness.