THE roll out of 20 mph speed limits in residential areas of Burnley, Hyndburn, Rossendale and Chorley is to be speeded up after the county council transferred £1 million from its public health budget.

The decision by health boss Azhar Ali is further endorsement of the Lancashire Telegraph’s ‘Slower Speeds, Safer Children’ campaign.

This aims to bring the lower limit to all residential areas across East Lancashire.

It was launched last summer after government figures showed Blackburn with Darwen was officially the worst local authority in England under-16s killed or badly hurt on its roads.

The county is committed to rolling out 20 mph zones in all its 12 boroughs including Pendle, Hyndburn, Rossendale and Ribble Valley.

Last week Coun Ali, who represents Nelson South, approved the cash transfer to boost the implementation of the 20mph programme.

He said using the public health grant to help pay for the zones boosted other health and wellbeing initiatives.

Blackburn with Darwen Council is awaiting results of a sign-only 20 mph zone in Mill Hill before deciding whether to extend the lower limit to all residential streets.

Leading campaigner, Liberal Democrat leader David Foster, said: “I am delighted to see the county council pressing ahead with the roll-out of 20 mph zones in residential areas and its acceptance of its health benefits.

“I just wish Blackburn with Darwen Council would stop delaying this life-saving safety programme in our borough.”

Former county Tory leader Geoff Driver said: “I welcome the county council pressing ahead but when we lost control of the authority last year there was enough money in the roads budget to pay for its full implementation.”

Blackburn with Darwen regeneration director Brian Bailey said: “We are piloting a 20mph sign-only area in Mill Hill.

“More than 400 roads in the borough already have 20 mph limits.”

A county council spokesman said: “It is a priority for the county council to continue to reduce deaths and injuries on our roads”