PLANS for 20mph speed limits in residential areas in Colchester are a step closer to being realised.

Colchester Council has agreed to support the reduced limit and keep up the pressure on Essex County Council to introduce the measure.

It has invited Tracey Chapman, councillor responsible for highways at Essex County Council, to a meeting.

Paul Wilkinson, transport policy manager, said: “I think there is a worthwhile opportunity to influence her thinking in terms of the way county policies will go and their response to 20mph zones.”

It also agreed to lobby MPs Bob Russell, Bernard Jenkin and Priti Patel to raise the issue in Parliament.

Nigel Offen, chairman of the policy review and development committee, said it was only a step along the road. He said: “This is not a green light.”

Julie Young, committee member, said: “It would be wrong to give the public the wrong impression on this. There are still costs involved and, as we are in the process of cutting back, I would have thought now is not the right time.”

Areas previously suggested for 20mph limits include side streets around the High Street plus High Woods, Greenstead, Berechurch and St John’s.

The campaign to lower the speed limit has been running since 2009, but met into opposition from highways chiefs worried about the cost and police who say it would be difficult to enforce.

In June, the Government said it wanted to encourage 20mph limits in residential streets and around schools, shops and play areas by cutting red tape.

A 20mph scheme in Lower Wivenhoe is still waiting for Government approval.

Essex County Council said although it is trialling a 20mph zone in Chelmsford, it did not expect to roll it out to other areas in the next two years.