Having a default 20mph speed limit for new residential roads in Cambridgeshire will help save lives, councillors have said.

Proposals to reduce the speed of cars on newly adopted residential roads was backed by a majority of councillors at Cambridgeshire County Council’s full council meeting on October 18.

The default speed limit for residential roads adopted by the authority had been 30mph.

A motion presented by Cllr Philippa Slatter, Liberal Democrat, called for the CCC to establish a policy of 20mph as the default speed limit on new residential roads as soon as possible as part of the planning process.

She also called for the authority to reduce the speed limit on roads in new residential areas recently or about to be adopted to 20mph, unless local factors suggest otherwise.

At the meeting, Cllr Slatter explained problems she faced in Trumpington.

She said when buying her new build home, she had been under the impression the road speed limit would be 20mph, but that this was not the case.

She added that she was pleased that since originally submitting the motion earlier this year, that the first part of her motion had been taken on board by the authority, but said she thought it was still important to raise the issue.

The motion was seconded by Cllr Mark Howell, Conservative, who said the authority would be “saving lives” by supporting it.

“At 40mph there is a 90 per cent chance a pedestrian involved in a road traffic accident will be killed,” he said.

“At 35mph there is a 50 per cent chance they will be killed, at 30mph it’s a 20 per cent chance a person is killed.

“At 20mph, there is a 2.5 per cent chance they will be killed.”

He added: “Members, what we are doing here today, not arguing something politically, what we are doing here now will make a difference forevermore.

“What we are doing here is going to save people’s lives.”

Concerns about making 20mph the default policy were raised by Cllr Steve Tierney, Conservative.

He said: “I don’t have any problem with individual areas campaigning and getting 20mph speed limits, or indeed any other appropriate speed limit for the area.

“I worry about the endless move towards increased regulation and control, and I worry about it because it is always based on such poor evidence and facts.

“The evidence presented is always emotional, it is always designed so that you will feel sad, or you will feel guilty if something happens in the future.”

He added: “The truth is we do live in a world where we balance risk and how we act, how we behave, there is danger every time you walk out of your door.”

When the motion was put to a vote 48 councillors voted in favour of supporting it, and four councillors voted against it.