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20mph for residential streets

Monday, 28 April 2014

Calderdale is the first West Yorkshire Council set to approve a wide area Total 20mph limit residential road policy.

Today, Mon 28th April Calderdale Cabinet are recommended to approve 20mph limits for most of its roads with approximately £520k of Government Local Transport Plan funding over three years. The scheme is mainly signed limits and education to tell drivers which are 20mph roads and why obeying the lower limit makes sense. Cabinet papers[1] say that by 2017 the aim is to have:

  • 20mph speed limits on the majority of residential roads and streets within Calderdale – 'Total 20mph'.
  • An improved community environment which encourages walking and cycling.
  • Changed driver behaviour – to start the process of 'social norming' where drivers begin to accept that driving at 20mph is 'normal' and expect to drive at a 'default' speed of 20mph unless informed otherwise

30% of Calderdale's residential roads already have 20mph limits. Public consultation showed wide area Total 20mph limits were the clear favourite with 48% support of three policy options (the others being outside schools (36%) or high casualty areas(16%)). Respondents favouring wide area Total 20 outnumbered those choosing 20mph for just high casualty locations by three to one.

Calderdale joins many other authorities with over 13 million residents in places like York, Newcastle, Birmingham and Lancashire whose Councillors have voted for wide area 20mph default rather than allowing unnecessarily high road speeds to impinge on resident's safety and quality of life.

20mph limits (rather than 30mph) has been proven cost effective at reducing injuries by about 20%[2], including child and unclustered casualties. 20mph lowers risks especially to the vulnerable and children. Plus slower speed limits promote active travel and fitter, healthier lifestyles. It also encourages fairness as lower speed neighbourhoods aid disadvantaged groups like the poor or disabled. Families and older people particularly benefit.

Myra James, for 20's Plenty for Calderdale and Friends of the Earth said, "Total 20mph is brilliant news. Fewer people will be injured and our streets will be better places to live and get around. I'm proud to live somewhere that really cares about people and the environment."

Rod King, MBE, Founder of 20's Plenty for Us said, "We are delighted that Calderdale Council are taking this significant step to enhance their community streets. 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"