CARDIFF South & Penarth AM Vaughan Gething has announced his backing for campaigns calling for a 20mph speed-limit in residential areas.

The move comes after the Labour led Vale of Glamorgan Council is consulting on a proposal to introduce a 20mph zone in Penarth and Llandough. A Welsh Assembly debate was held on introducing 20mph zones across Wales yesterday.

Vaughan said: “Reducing traffic speeds on our streets is the single biggest step we can take to make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists.

It would have a minimal impact on journey times but a significant positive impact on pedestrian and cyclist safety.

“People hit by a car travelling at 35 mph only have a 50 per cent chance of survival. If the speed is reduced to 20 mph the chance of survival leaps to 97 per cent.

“A 20mph speed limit can be introduced without the use of costly and complex traffic calming measures.

Many local authorities across the UK have already done this.

“Reducing road speeds in built up areas has a proven track record of saving lives and avoiding serious injury. I am pleased to see the Vale council taking a lead on this issue across Wales. I will certainly be reflecting that in the Assembly debate this week.”

Many local authorities across the UK, including Portsmouth, have already adopted 20mph as the default speed limit in residential areas. It became the first city in 2008 to fully implement a city-wide scheme.

For a cost of just £475,000 it changed the speed limit on 1,200 roads to 20mph. As a result of this in 2009 after the first year it was able to report a 7mph reduction in average speed, a result which the Dept for Transport found “statistically significant”.

Other areas are now looking at adopting this limit on all roads where people live, work and shop.

Campaigners for greater use of 20mph zones point to benefits that include an increase in road safety with a reduction of the risk and severity of collisions. Beyond improved road safety the measure could also get more people walking and cycling, create more social streets, cut pollution from exhaust fumes, smooth traffic-flow with less stop-start driving and reduce traffic noise.