A CAMPAIGN to slash speed limits in Kendal to 20mph is set to accelerate in the New Year.

Three local residents have set up a ‘20s Plenty’ campaign group for the town, calling for mandatory 20mph limits on all estates and arterial roads that are currently 30mph.

Rory Black, Alastair Dunn and Paul Holdsworth claim the move would boost traffic safety and cut congestion in Kendal.

The group is a local branch of ‘20’s Plenty for Us’, the national campaign which was founded in 2007.

It was set up following Kendal Town Council’s recent decision to hold a public consultation on introducing 20mph speed limits on the town’s urban streets in 2015.

Areas in Kendal which have 20mph limits in place include Queens Road, Kirkbarrow and Rinkfield.

Mr Dunn, of Heron Hill, said: “Before the town council decision, I didn’t really know much about default 20mph limits. But I read up on it and quickly realised it would be great for the safety of my own children.

“There are various residential roads in Kendal that already have 20mph limits but it would be far clearer and safer if people understood that Kendal was a 20mph town.

“The safety benefits are pretty obvious – 50 per cent of people hit by vehicles at 30mph are killed, but at 20mph, 90 per cent survive.”

Mr Dunn said the group was keen to stress that it did not want any additional speed humps in Kendal, or isolated 20mph zones outside schools, as 80 per cent of road incidents involving children do not happen on the school run.

“We do not want just advisory 20mph limits as they are complied with less than mandatory speed limits,” he explained.

“Most people drive at 30mph in 30mph limits. We believe people will comply and drive mainly 20mph in 20mph limits.”

Mr Holdsworth added: “It’s easy to imagine problems with 20’s Plenty – will I be able to drive more slowly? Do we really need this? Won’t it cause congestion instead of easing it?

“That’s why we’ve set up this group, to help Kendalians understand why it makes sense.”

The 20’s Plenty for Kendal group is working in tandem with the town council, which is organising a consultation with Kendal residents.

Cllr Keith Hurst-Jones is part of the project, which has been called ‘Proposal for consideration of additional 20mph zones’.

He said: “I believe that a simple yes/no choice isn’t suitable and I would hope to have several options, which would include a complete limit on the whole of Kendal, residential areas only, or just near schools.”

If the scheme meets the public’s approval it will be passed to Cumbria County Council’s (CCC) Highways team for consideration.

Cllr Giles Archibald said the project was launched as a response to residents’ complaints about speeding in Kendal and cars dodging through estates.

“The town council is not promoting this either way – we are attempting to find out whether there is public opinion in favour of extending the 20mph zone, and if so what form it should take.

“If there is then we can go to the county council and say the people of Kendal want this.

“We’re aware that CCC doesn’t have huge amounts of money, so it may take some time and we may have to find the money for signage.”

Cllr Stan Collins, Chair of CCC Local Area Highways and Transportation and Working Group said implementation of a default 20mph limit in Kendal would cost ‘hundreds of thousands of pounds’.

He said: “I have asked the Casualty Reduction and Safer Highways Group (CRASH) to look at the figures and see where the principal risks are.

“The highways revenue budget for Cumbria is being cut by 15 per cent so we’d have to have hard statistical evidence that this was going to produce the best value we could get for road safety in South Lakeland.

“However, with shrinking resources, we still might not have the money to do it.”

Cllr Clare Feeney-Johnson is the only county councillor in Kendal to have introduced 20’s Plenty in her division – on Valley Drive, Kendal Parks and part of Heron Hill.

“The average speed does come down but there are areas where it is easy to speed and people forget that 20’s Plenty is in place,” she said.

“I think in residential areas it would be appropriate if that’s what the majority of people prefer, but the police need to be involved because if they aren’t able to enforce it, it won’t work.”

Inspector Paul Latham, of Kendal Police, said: “As a consultee we will work closely with all partners that could help make roads safer for motorists and non-motorists.”

Gary Tomlinson of Rinkfield Residents Association, which already has a 20mph limit, said most motorists complied with the limit, adding, “I think it works quite well.”

Tony Houghton, Vice-Chairman of Silverdale Parish Council, which has a 20mph limit, said: "The difficulty we have is that it doesn't appear to be enforced or encouraged.

"We don't think putting the signs up was or is enough - even if PCSOs were to stop and talk to people, word would soon get around."