Road Safety News
 

Calderdale Council approves wide-area 20mph limits

Tuesday 29th April 2014

Calderdale Council has become the first council in West Yorkshire to approve a wide area 20mph limit on residential roads. The move was approved by Calderdale Cabinet at a meeting on 28 April.

The campaign group 20’s Plenty says that “£500k of public health funds will be made available for engagement and persuading drivers of the advantages of slower speeds”.

30% of Calderdale’s residential roads already have 20mph limits and the council aims to have 20mph speed limits on the majority of residential roads by 2017.

A local paper, the Brighouse Echo, says that 1,200 local residents participated in a consultation in which “over 80% of people support measures to curb speed limits, however, less that 50% support the proposal of a district-wide 20mph speed limit”.

Councillor Simon Young (Labour) said: “There’s rarely a time when I knock on a resident’s door where road speed doesn’t come up as an issue. The majority of citizens support the introduction of the 20mph scheme.”

However, Conservative members of the council have called for further consultation before the plans are rolled out, pointing out that “less than 1% of residents took part in the consultation”.

Councillor Scott Benton (Conservatve) said: “We simply do not believe the council has the legitimacy to introduce this policy given the apparent lack of support from the public.”

Rod King MBE, founder of 20’s Plenty for Us, said: “The benefits to community and public health from a calmer and more people oriented urban environment are widely recognised and it is encouraging to see the substantial role being played in engagement via Calderdale’s public health team.

“The young and elderly will particularly benefit from this scheme and the council and community are to be congratulated for Calderdale joining the many places who agree that 20’s plenty where people live, work, shop and learn.”

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I will resist the temptation to respond to the usual speed reduction deniers. As Hugh has said I am sure that most readers are bored with their un-evidenced claims.

Michael from Dorset raises an interesting point as to who should say how we use the space between our houses that we call streets. Certainly from my experience members do take notice of officer opinion and equally many officers say that they need clear direction and vision from members if they are to work effectively. There are also clear legal responsibilities and liabilities that members have as representatives of communities and these do extend to road management.

In addition, we have a long tradition of elected representatives setting laws, a professional police enforcing those laws and an independent judiciary sentencing.

20mph limits are also at the core of an increasing aspiration to re-valuing our urban environment around the needs of whole communities rather than just cars.
Rod King 20's Plenty for Us

Agree (3) | Disagree (5)
-2

I feel that the political process is rarely mentioned as a barrier to many RSPs. RSPs often have their hands tied by the political decision making process. In many cases RSPs are only able to offer professional advice which can seemingly be chosen to be ignored or ‘massaged’ if it does not support what has typically already been decided.

It can often be the case that interventions delivered under the banner of road safety are politically led as opposed to being evidence led; I must add that this is not the case for all road safety interventions.
Michael, Dorset

Agree (10) | Disagree (3)
+7

Let it rest? No. To quote Jonathan Swift: -

Falsehood flies and the truth comes limping after; so that when men come to be undeceived it is too late: the jest is over and the tale has had its effect.
Jonathan Swift -- The Examiner, Number 15 (November 9, 1710)
Derek Reynolds, Salop.

Agree (12) | Disagree (8)
+4

Hugh
I agree that the 20mph bandwagon has a fair head of steam, but I do not agree that it is here to stay, any more than high-rise blocks or bankers' bonuses are. The flawed arguments supporting 20mph as a road safety intervention will ultimately be recognised and the bubble will burst.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (11) | Disagree (14)
-3

Groan. Unless somebody has got something new to say on this subject, I suggest we just let it fade into the archives. As someone has already hinted, it is becoming tedious and at the end of the day it looks as if 20s are here to stay anyway.
Hugh Jones, Cheshire

Agree (16) | Disagree (6)
+10

I agree with Dave but note that Rod King appears to have stopped claiming road safety (reduced KSI) benefits. Given that the evidence suggests that 20mph is more likely to be harmful to KSI, I find these frequent postings about 20mph on this website tedious and provocative.
Eric Bridgstock, Independent Road Safety Research, St Albans

Agree (12) | Disagree (15)
-3

When companies sell products, it is illegal for them to mislead the purchaser regarding the effects of their product and we can choose not to buy. When councils sell us products, on the other hand, the law on misleading doesn't appear to apply, yet we are forced to buy the product.

Is it legal to claim that 20mph "will reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries on our roads" when the evidence suggests that death and serious injury rates may have increased where 20mph has been tried? If 20mph were to be tried in scientific trials, and they found road safety improvements, then safety claims could be made and the product sold to us legally and morally.
Dave Finney, Slough

Agree (14) | Disagree (14)
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