COUNCIL bosses are to launch the next stage of a controversial scheme to extend 20ph limits across York.

The lower speeds have already been introduced on most residential streets in the west of the city, and the northern part of York - including Clifton, Heworth, Huntington, New Earswick, Haxby and Strensall - is next in line, with traffic regulation order signs being displayed this month.

City of York Council says city-wide 20mph limits will make streets safer and encourage more people to walk and cycle. Opponents claim the scheme, which has a £500,000 budget, is too expensive, cannot be enforced and 20mph should be targeted at areas with the worst accident records.

Notices about the reduced speed limits will be posted on affected streets, after which there will be a 28-day period for official representations or objections to be made, while residents will be sent leaflets about the plans.

Coun Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, said 20mph gave drivers "more time to react to the presence of other road users" and could make the city "more attractive".

Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive of road charity Brake - which wants 20mph, rather than 30mph, as the standard residential speed limit - said: "We need to tackle the senseless and violent casualties which continue to happen daily on our raods and we need to enable people to live healthy, active, social lives.

"We've reached the point where it makes no sense to retain 30mph as the default limit in built-up areas. and Brake wholeheartedly supports York's plan to implement more 20mph limits."

The 20mph limits will be mainly self-enforcing. A survey on the west York proposals last year, sent to 13,000 homes, received only 97 responses with just seven of these in favour of the scheme, although the council said the consultation was not intended to test its popularity.

Earlier this year, York councillor Anna Semlyen, speaking in her capacity as campaign manager for the 20's Plenty For Us group, said there was "little point half-heartedly sounding out general opinion" on the principle of 20mph limits, claiming public support for them had already been shown. More information is at