SPEEDS limits of 20mph are set to be a reality for all residential areas across the Lancashire County Council area in just two years, it has been revealed.

The county’s highways boss said the £9million scheme would save lives and could be policed by residents.

County Councillor Tim Ashton said he wanted speeding in built-up areas to be ‘as taboo as drink driving’ in a bid to halt the thousands of people killed or injured on the region’s roads every year.

Coun Ashton said: “It is quite radical but we need to do something drastic to reduce the number of deaths on our roads.

“I think there will be a huge amount of support for what we are doing but if there are critics I will take them head-on.

“I have heard the arguments but speeding in residential areas is totally unacceptable. By dropping the speed limit we will certainly save lives.”

The project will be implemented in 2013.

All roads in ‘residential areas’ in the Lancashire County Council area will be made 20mph under the scheme.

Coun Ashton said that commuter routes, trunk roads and main roads would not be affected.

New signage will be put in place, along with a publicity campaign and a public onsultation.

‘Community road watch’ volunteers will also be sought to use speed guns, with those caught-out receiving a letter from the community warning them about their speed.

The scheme will covers the Lancashire County Council area which includes Burnley, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster, Pendle, Preston, Ribble Valley, Rossendale, South Ribble, West Lancashire and Wyre.

In Blackburn and Darwen, there are no imminent plans to follow suit.

However, the area's Director of Public Health Dominic Harrison is calling for a debate about the introduction of 20mph speed limits in residential areas.

Dominic Harrison said: “Unless we have a borough-wide 20mph limit in all residential areas that is observed and enforced by the whole community, this avoidable death and injury toll will continue.”