MORE than £270,000 has been allocated by Wirral Council to set up 20mph zones in all residential areas throughout the borough.

The cash has been earmarked by the Labour and Liberal Democrat administration's budget proposals announced this week.

The Lib-Dems, who spearheaded the scheme, say it has "demonstrated our strong commitment to improving road safety."

The budget provides £275,000 this year as part of a £1.1m four-year programme to reduce traffic speeds.

The funding is for introduction of a statutory 20mph speed limit on non-major routes in all residential areas, and for variable speed signs for schools on major routes where there are "vulnerable road-users" such as pedestrians and cyclists.

The new policy will give priority to schools and their surrounding areas.

Each stage will be subject to consultation with local residents.

Councillor Jean Quinn, cabinet member for Streetscene and transport, said: "Following the success and popularity of our voluntary 'Accidents Down 2 Zero campaign', which has reduced average traffic speeds in the trial areas, I am very pleased that we have been able to give funding priority to road safety by introducing 20mph zones across Wirral following a previous commitment by council to looking at the feasibility of this idea.

“In recent years, Wirral Council has made excellent progress in reducing road traffic accidents but there is always more that can be done."

Councillor Quinn said speed is one of the key factors in reducing both the number and severity of road traffic accidents.

"A pedestrian, if struck by a vehicle at 20mph, is likely to suffer slight injuries; at 30mph they would be severely hurt and at 40mph or above, they are likely to be killed.

"This is why it is so important that we do all that we can to protect pedestrians and reduce the speed at which traffic moves around the Borough in locations where these vulnerable road users are most likely to be."

She said additional measures such as speed humps will not be needed.

And she added: "I strongly believe that by introducing 20mph zones in this way, it will make our roads safer for everybody."