LEADING campaigners for 20mph zones in residential areas have highlighted a new survey showing fast-moving traffic is one of the main reasons for parents refusing to let children play out.

Former Lancashire County Council boss Geoff Driver and Blackburn with Darwen Liberal Democrat leader David Foster believe the lower speed limit encourages youngsters to spend more time in the open air, and less on their computer games.

The poll, released to mark yesterday’s Playday 2013, questioned 1,000 UK children, aged between five and 16, and 1,000 parents with children the same age.

Of the five to 11-year-olds, 53per cent said they would like to play outside more.

Of the adults, 53per cent thought traffic was a barrier to children playing out where they lived.

Coun Foster has led political support for the Lancashire Telegraph’s ‘Slower Speeds, Safer Children’ campaign to persuade Blackburn with Darwen Council to bring in 20mph speed limits across all the borough’s residential streets.

Coun Driver brought in a rolling programme to introduce the lower speed limit throughout the county’s residential areas, including Pendle, Ribble Valley, Burnley, Hyndburn, Chorley and Rossendale, when in charge of the giant authority.

The new Labour leadership, under Jenny Mein, paused the progamme to review the evidence of its success and, after the launch of our campaign, authorised its completion.

Coun Foster said: “The introduction of 20mph speed limits across Blackburn with Darwen, combined with road safety education for children and drivers, would make it much easier for youngsters to play in the street.

“Fast-moving traffic is a real deterrent to parents letting their children out to see friends, or go to the shop.

“It’s traditional for children to play in the street round here, as I did when I was a child.  “It is good for their health.”

Burnley-born councillor Driver said: “Traffic is a real problem for parents when it comes to their children going out.

“20mph speed limits make it easier for children to play out, or go to the shop, or meet friends, or go to the park.

“Of course, very young children need to be supervised, and trained, about road safety. But the lower speed zones really do make a difference.”