Cheltenham's MP, Alex Chalk, has thrown his weight behind new proposals to give parish and town councils the power to alter speed limits to improve road safety.
The Speed Limits on Roads (Devolved Powers) Bill, a Bill to amend Part VI of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, and the Local Authorities Traffic Orders (Procedure)(England and Wales) Regulations 1996, include changes that would give parish and town councils the power to hold community referendums to alter speed limits.
Mr Chalk explained that in order to save costs and time, referendums would be held alongside national and local elections. A proposition would be put to the local residents asking if they want to change the current speed limit of a specific road or area to a newly proposed limit. If the electorate voted in favour of the proposed speed limit, then the Local Authority would be duty bound to implement it.
The Bill was introduced by fellow Conservative MP Scott Mann, through a Ten Minute Rule Motion after Prime Minister's Question's on Wednesday, 18 November.
According to data published for 2012 by the House of Commons Library, there were nearly 196,000 reported casualties on the roads of Great Britain, including 1,754 fatalities and 23,000 serious casualties.
On 30mph roads, there were 582 fatal accidents, whereas on 20mph roads there were 9. Two thirds of accidents happened in a 30mph speed limit, whereas only 1.5% were on 20mph road.
Commenting on this new proposal in the Commons, Cheltenham's man in Westminster said "We need to do more to make our roads safe for pedestrians and cyclists. Local people best understand the dangers that exist on their community roads, so why not let them set their own speed limits? There are plenty of communities in Cheltenham that are affected by speeding traffic. If they want to lower the speed limit on their local road from 30 to 20mph, then they should have the power to do so."