The 20’s Plenty group, which has a branch in Worthing, has welcomed The Department for Transport’s latest statement which clarifies policy.
With plans recently being considered for speed reduction in Chichester, campaigners are expecting a similar system could be introduced within the Worthing area.
West Sussex County Council is set to conduct a series of speed monitoring tests on roads around Worthing over the next two months.
But a formal public consultation on the issue will now be delayed until after the county elections, which take place in May.
Stephen Hammond, the junior secretary of state for transport, wrote to Parliament confirming the new guidelines “created more flexibility for authorities to create 20mph limits and zones”.
His statement read: “Traffic authorities are asked to keep their speed limits under review with changing circumstances, and to consider the introduction of more 20 mph limits and zones, over time, in urban areas and built-up village streets that are primarily residential, to ensure greater safety for pedestrians and cyclists.”
He added the guidelines advised that local authorities had the power to introduce 20 speed limit areas on major residential streets “where there were a significant number of journeys on foot” happening, or where there was strong community support for such measures.
Duncan Kay, from the Worthing’s 20 Plenty Campaign, felt the guidelines were an encouraging sign.
“It’s good to see the Government is encouraging local authorities to act on speed limits. There is growing support for them and we’ve already had the backing of Worthing Borough Council in 2010 on this,” he said.
“The vast majority of residents who we have spoken to favour a reduction in residential speed limits, but it would be down to the county council to decide exactly which roads these were.
“Worthing has previously the highest number of road deaths and injuries in the county, which is a real concern. I also have two small children myself and I really want them to grow up feeling that they can cycle to school.”
West Sussex county councillor Bob Smytherman, who chairs the county local committee, added: “We are fully supportive of the 20s Plenty campaign as a committee and the county council has confirmed it will hold a public consultation on this.
“I think it’s important that we do have consultation, but personally, I am in favour of speed limits being placed at 20mph, with main roads keeping the present speed limits so as to avoid any economic impact of these reductions.
“With the tragic case of the pensioner who died at Portland Road the other week, there is a definite need for this.”