A CALL has been made for all Wirral residential areas to become 20mph zones after a new report found the number of people killed or seriously injured on Wirral's roads was higher than the national average.

Compiled by pedestrians' group "Living Streets", and using Government data from the past three years, the figures show the adult pedestrian casualty rate in the borough is 30% above the UK average.

And shockingly, the child accident rate is 80% above the national average.

The number of cyclists killed or seriously injured is 15% above the UK average.

For child cyclists, the Wirral rate is 48% above the UK average.

In a bid to tackle the issue, speed limits outside such places as schools are currently under review by police and the local authority.

Expressing concern about the report's findings, Wirral's Green Party spokesman Pat Cleary says he believes all residential areas should become 20mph zones.

He said: "In theory, Wirral is meant to be supporting sustainable travel modes such as walking and cycling. "In reality, these figures show that Wirral is a very dangerous place to be a pedestrian or a cyclist.

"The figures for children are truly shocking and will be of real concern to every parent in Wirral.

"The easiest, quickest and most effective way to address the current failings is to make every residential road in Wirral 20mph and ensure that the police take enforcement seriously.

"We need action now or more lives will be lost."

Councillor Jean Quinn, Wirral's cabinet member for streetscene and transport services, defended the borough's accident rate.

She said: "What is important to note is the significant progress that road safety partners in Wirral have been making in recent years in reducing the number of traffic casualties in the borough across all ages, but particularly among children.

"This progress is underlined by the fact that we have already achieved the Government’s national 2010 target for reducing the number of serious accident casualties involving children.

"Improving safety on Wirral’s roads, particularly for vulnerable road users such as children and adult pedestrians and cyclists, continues to be a top priority for the council and its partners.

"We are currently reviewing speed limits around Wirral schools and, in partnership with Merseyside Police, are examining the feasibility of introducing either permanent or variable 'time specific' 20mph restrictions as appropriate.

"In addition, our robust and detailed road safety action plan, involving a wide range of road safety initiatives, is a further demonstration of our commitment to reducing casualties on our roads.

"One child killed or seriously injured on our roads is one too many – no child should ever be killed or seriously injured on our roads.

"While the achievements of recent times are to be rightly lauded, now is not the time for complacency.

"I will continue to work hard to ensure that every effort is made by the council and its partners to continue to reduce these numbers still further."

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