There will be a four-stage process to getting a speed limit cut to 20mph for any neighbourhood in Swindon should a new policy be adopted.

Members of the borough council’s Conservative cabinet will hear a report about a new safe roads strategy at their meeting next week.

Included in the document is a plan for how communities might be able to introduce a lower speed limit or have their area declared a 20mph zone.

The report is clear about the benefits. It has a graph showing that collisions at 20mph are much more survivable than at higher speeds and adds: “Accident risk is not usually the only intended outcome to a traffic calming scheme.

"Important benefits of 20mph schemes include quality of life and community benefits, encouragement of healthier and more sustainable transport modes such as walking and cycling and environmental benefits as, generally, driving more slowly at a steady pace will save fuel and reduce pollution.”

But it says a lower speed limit with no other measures, such as chicanes or humps is not always very effective. “Research into signed-only 20 mph speed limits shows they generally lead to only small reductions in traffic speeds." Research has shown that in residential areas without other measures the median speed fell by just 0.8mph.

“Signed-only 20 mph speed limits are therefore most appropriate for areas where vehicle speeds are already low.”

To get a lower limit or 20mph zone created, residents will need to lobby their councillors and show a high level of community support. Their councillor should put in the request.

Requests will be assessed and only those in residential area, with a speed limit of 30mph and where support is evident will be considered.

Then the council will survey the road, look at accident statistics for it and monitor the levels of traffic and the speed it travels, and look at the impact of a lower limit on emergency vehicles.

If appropriate, designs will be put out for local consultation, then refined before a formal consultation process.

The meeting starts at 6pm on December 1 at the offices in Euclid Street.