Islington to adopt 20mph limit

15.07 | 21 November 2011 | | 4 comments

About 20 main roads in Islington, north London, are set to become 20mph zones – but they will not be enforced by the Metropolitan Police (BBC News).

The reduction from 30mph to 20mph will be presented to the council executive on 24 November before going to public consultation next year. The council says the change is aimed at reducing serious accidents involving pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

The Metropolitan Police will not increase patrols to enforce the limit, saying that the 20mph zones are “designed to be self enforcing through traffic calming measures such as speed humps”.

Councillor Paul Convery said: “We work very closely with the Metropolitan Police and have very carefully considered their advice.

“After long thought, we have decided to reject it and balanced the advice with the feelings of local residents and councillors, and the importance of safer streets for residents.

“We will work to improve awareness among motorists of the dangers of speed, to explain the reasons for keeping to 20mph in our community.”

Residential streets in the borough are already 20mph zones and the new restrictions will cover main roads throughout Islington.

Click here to read the full BBC News report.


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    Portsmouth Council’s claims for succes in their 20mph “area” – not a “zone” which mean traffic calming measures – were largely bogus.

    In reality serious injuries rose, and rose even more after allowing for the 12% fall in traffic. Furthemore, over the first two years, the falls observed in all injury accidents were substantially less than achieved across the whole country.

    I have all my detailed correspondence with Portsmouth CC and my analysis of the reality of what happened – but have not yet been able to put it all on my web site

    I will however do so within the next 48 hours, or if anyone contacts me through that web site I would be happy to copy it direct.

    The same applies to the DfT valuations for casualties prevented. Taking the £1.6m figure for a fatality as an example – £550,000 of that is for output supposedly lost because the worker cannot work – output is determined by demand, not availability of labour and if Joe is not there to make what he used to make, Fred steps in to do it instead.

    £1m of the rest is a purely notional and hypothetical figure for pain and suffering avoided and (however much we all want to avoid it) it does not exist in cash terms in any known ledger this side of the Pearly gates.

    For these two reasons the average cash saving for the State of avoiding a fatal accident is about £20,000 not £1.6m – and those who hope to cover their scheme costs by way of the DfT’S fantasy valuations are on a hiding to nothing.

    Idris Francis Petersfield
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    Hi Pete. I’m not a fan of the Portsmouth report but I have read it. It’s the largest 20mph scheme without calming and saw an increase in serious accidents at a time they were reducing elsewhere. Will this information be included in the “public consultation”?

    Values of road crashes may be £16bn per annum but, if that uses HEN1 figures, that is not the cost, it’s the value ascribed. So this “investment”, as you call it, may be very bad for the economy.

    If “the emergency services issue is a well worn argument” then how many lives are lost per minute later that ambulances arrive? Remember it’s the slower traffic on calmed roads that holds up ambulances, not just the humps and bumps. If this issue is a well worn one then there should be “a robust research base” on this in the road safety research. I haven’t seen it, could you point it out?

    Will this information on added risk also be included in the “public consultation”?

    Dave Finney – Slough
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    As I know you are an avid fan (!!) of the Portsmouth report. You will see that the very same report includes a comparison to available research on traffic-calmed (physical measures) schemes. The option for introducing 20mph limits via physical traffic calming comes out on top if you ignore the higher capital costs element and go for a criterion of safety effectiveness or Benefit to Cost ratio.

    There are various design guides for traffic calming and the emergency services issue is a well worn argument – designers can reduce the effect with care.

    I would suggest that there are as many ambulance trips to deal with road crashes on non-calmed roads as other non-traffic related causes!

    Last time I looked road crashes cost the UK £16bn per annum. So this investment is good for the economy – I rather hope that we can turn a blind-eye to the 10 secs of delay per vehicle that ensues.

    Good on Islington for still investing in tried and tested techniques…..but isn’t it amusing that we still have the “red tape” of having to consult the police on these matters just to fill in a few lines in a committee report that may be misconstrued?

    Pete, Liverpool
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    In the “public consultation”, will the public be given factual information about the likely consequences of the 20mph scheme?

    It is not clear whether the 20mph includes humps and bumps etc. If not, then Portsmouth’s scheme saw an increase in serious accidents.

    And if it does include humps and bumps, would the probably minimal reduction in serious accidents outway an increase in fatal or serious injuries from the increase in time taken for emergency vehicles to attend following a heart attack or a fall from a ladder or stab wound etc?

    And then there’s the cost of the scheme, the cost of damage to vehicles and loss to the economy in a time of economic crisis.

    Would it be possible to replace best intention with best available evidence? After all, a recent joint memorandum suggested that: “It will be vital to ensure that any interventions are based on a robust research base and are evaluated rigorously”.

    Is there a date for that to start?

    Dave Finney – Slough
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