Waste of time or a life-saver? Your views on plans to introduce 20mph limits for residential areas across Warwickshire

Here are a few of your letters on a subject that has caused much debate

Friday, 30th July 2021, 11:43 am
A 20mph limit could be introduced for residential areas across Warwickshire.

The proposal to introuduce 20mph limits for residential areas across Warwickshire has sparked a great deal of debate.

As we reported recently, county councillors approved a motion put forward by the Green Party for a ‘costed plan for cabinet consideration’.

Although it was was given all party backing, a number of Conservative councillors urged caution, warning one size did not fit all.

Since our report there has been much debate - - both for and against - on our social media platforms and on our letter pages.

Here are four letter that we have received - do you agree with their views? Email your views to [email protected]

YOUR LETTERS

Regarding the proposal for 20mph speed limits, Cllr Wallace is correct in saying that consideration needs to be given to the wishes of residents, because many people don’t want them.

It seems that 20mph limits have become another political fashion item for the left, and they seem to be imposed by political diktat rather than due to public demand.

A case in point is a town where a local referendum on 20mph limits showed the majority against, but the council went against democracy and imposed them anyway.

Then there was the item on regional TV news several years ago about proposals for blanket 20mph limits in towns.

The station ran a phone-in poll with a straightforward question along the lines of ‘do you want blanket 20mph limits in towns’. The result was a massive 80 per cent against.

20mph limits make sense on narrow residential streets, but there are plenty of wide residential streets (and main roads) where they would be ridiculous and unnecessary, the 20mph limit we now have through the centre of Kenilworth being a case in point.

I would challenge those advocates of these 20mph limits in your letters page to provide hard evidence of their claimed ‘speeding problem’.

I once did that with both Labour and Green councillors in Sydenham. The Labour councillor was honest enough to admit there was no hard evidence.

Councillor Golby is right that an arbitrary 20mph across the board does not work, and I would argue that it is not wanted by the majority.

As this is no doubt what the Greens will be pushing for, I therefore propose that no such measure can be introduced without proven majority support in the form of a referendum.

Graham Bell

Leamington

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My wife and I give whole-hearted support to the proposal to lower speed limits in residential areas across the county to 20mph.

Currently, together with a group of neighbours in Harbury, we are engaged in communication with Warwickshire County Council, Stratford District Council and Harbury Parish Council in an effort to reduce the speed limit on the road adjacent to our houses in Harbury (Bush Heath Road / Butt Lane) from the current 40mph.

Although we believe that a speed limit of 30mph would fit more closely with government guidelines, the responses that we receive suggest that nothing can be done unless traffic calming measures are undertaken at the same time and that there is no funding available for this.

So a county-wide reduction to 20mph would solve our problem and would make our lives safer and more bearable.

Martin and Marion Hall

By email

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Before we all land ourselves with an outcome we did not expect, I think we should consider carefully what we are talking about.

There is distinction which may not be entirely obvious between a general area, residential or otherwise, in which a 20 mph speed limit is imposed and a 20mph “zone”.

The latter has a restricted meaning, being a closely defined set of roads in which a 20mph limit is backed up by other “traffic calming” measures, such as speed humps and chicanes.

There is a noticeable difference in the accident and casualty statistics between these definitions.

The Department for Transport’s own research study, commissioned from Atkins in 2018, found that in the residential areas studied (not “zones”) median speeds were reduced by a mere 0.8mph and “there is insufficient evidence to conclude that there has been a significant change in collisions and casualties following the introduction of 20mph limits”.

This hardly justifies the general introduction of such limits in residential areas.

Of course, if the taxpayers are prepared to go to the expense of plastering every residential road in the county with speed humps and chicanes, it might be worth looking at the issue in the light of all the ramifications, but otherwise I would suggest that this is not a proposal to be considered at present.

Personally, as a driver of 60 years experience, I find it quite stressful to drive a modern car at 20mph on a road which suggest that it is safe to drive at 30, and I would prefer to keep my eyes on the road than to have them glued to the speedometer.

John Oakley

Kenilworth

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I read with interest the comments on the possible 20mph limit in town centres in Warwickshire.

Personally I am in favour of this speed limit in our town centres, as are the majority of residents and services in the street where I live.

The services include a doctor’s surgery, a school, a pharmacy, sheltered accommodation and a supermarket.

The 20mph restriction is a speed limit and also an indication that one needs to be cautious in what is a busy area.

Contrary to some reports, a 20mph limit can be just that; there is no requirement for speed bumps or other traffic- calming measures.

A 20mph limit is not a whimsical wish, but a realistic move to make our town centres safer.

There are good precedents for this. Many town centres already have this restriction.

The Welsh Government is likely to impose this restriction from autumn 2021 and a 30kph restriction (roughly 20mph) has been imposed in Spanish residential areas from this month.

It is time that Warwickshire caught up with other areas.

Dilys Skinner

Kenilworth