Survey sparks 20mph row in York

12.00 | 16 July 2013 | | 4 comments

A survey of 13,000 residents in west York drew just 97 responses – 87 of whom opposed proposals for reducing the speed limit to 20mph, with just seven in favour (York Press).

Despite the very low response, City of York council intends to press ahead this summer with its plans, saying that the low number of responses shows there is “no significant opinion against the idea of 20mph”.

The Labour-controlled council intends to ultimately roll out the 20mph zones across the city, but opponents say the consultation results mean it should be axed in favour of a more targeted approach. The council says the west York proposals are backed by local head teachers and North Yorkshire Police.

Councillor Dave Merrett, cabinet member for transport, said: “The introduction of lower speed limits reduces speeds, giving drivers more time to react to the presence of other road-users and reducing the likelihood of any potential remaining accidents.

“We are seeking to increase driver and safety awareness on our roads as part of the roll-out. As a city, we are committed to making York’s roads safer, and this should prove to be a cost-effective approach.”

Ian Gillies, Conservative leader, said: “The 20mph policy is an expensive political exercise which is not wanted by the vast majority of residents and this is more proof that it should be abandoned and the money being spent on it put to better use.”

Click here to read the full York Press report.


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    It would be just as valid to say that the results of the survey show there is “no significant opinion FOR the idea of 20mph” either, so why did the York council put out the contrary statement?

    In an election, it doesn’t matter how many are eligible to vote, it’s the amount that do vote that counts. I’m sure that if a York councillor was voted in by a majority of 87 to 7 they would call it a resounding endorsement of their policies. Ain’t modern democracy wonderful, if the people give you an answer you don’t like, ignore them.

    Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon
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    I’ve heard of apathy but this is ridiculous. Having worked in public service, I know that returns of questionnaires etc. from households can be very poor, depending on the subject, but…. 97 out of 13000? Only one returned for every 130 sent? Were they actually delivered? I suppose another way of looking at it is to say that 99% of residents didn’t object but then again I don’t know what was asked or said in the questionnaire.

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
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    Looks like 30’s Plenty for York!

    John Spencer Northampton
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    The above story seems closely linked to this other RSGB story

    I am surprised that, despite flooding the media with pro 20mph stories over many years and the direct efforts to persuade people such as in Liverpool in the other story, that citizens might not be as easily persuaded as perhaps expected.

    Surely this might demonstrate the need for the clear evidence that scientific trials could provide? If “randomised controlled trials” were run and they demonstrated that 20mph did bring the improvements that the authorities claim they want, it would be easy to explain why we need 20mph speed limits?

    Dave Finney, Slough
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