Councillor Mike Cox met with the Christchurch Town Community Committee this week to discuss introducing 20mph and the benefits this would create for the local community.
The motion was discussed and passed “Unopposed” for detailed work and for the Full Town Council to consider in favour of 20mph.
The campaign will then go to the BCP Council’s highways department to consider implementing 20mph speed limits in Christchurch town centre.
Councillor Cox decided to bring forward the motion following concerns raised by local residents.
“There are concerns about the speed vehicles are traveling along roads in the centre of Christchurch,”
“The lower speed limit would make the roads safer, particularly around some of the schools."
"It is also would be better for the environment as pollution would be reduced.”
“We are trying to get the town council to agree with it. It is still early days.”
Cllr Mike Cox went on to say:
“Once the town council agree to it, touch wood, it will draw up all the relevant documentation for an initial consultation.
“If it is an overwhelming no from the residents it will be a non-starter, but I would hope they would quite look forward to having slower vehicles on town centre roads.”
The 20 is plenty campaign
The 20 is plenty campaign is a not-for-profit organisation formed in 2007 campaigning to reduce the speed limit in urban areas to 20mph.
People who want to walk, cycle or use public transport and know that lower speeds saves lives, reduces pollution and reduces noise.
Successive UK Government survey results show 70% of respondents said that 20mph was the right speed limit for residential streets.
Key Benefits of reducing the speed limit in towns
There are many benefits for reducing the speed limits in villages, towns and cities:
- Improves air quality by 25% and reduces CO2 emissions
- With each 1mph reduction in urban average speeds delivers a 6% reduction in casualties
- 20mph typically delivers 20% fewer casualties
- Reduction on casualties benefits the NHS
- 50% quieter at 20mph
Cutting traffic noise offers huge benefits to locals and visitors
Cutting speeds from 30mph to 20mph would reduce traffic noise by around 3 decibels, and up to 6 decibels at peak periods.
Road noise affects peoples sleep and mental health, with the poor most disturbed. People who live on busy roads tend to live to the rear of their properties with an increased risk of loneliness, as people cannot stand outside and speak with neighbours.
A Swedish study on road noise from 50 km/h to 30km/h found reductions of 2-4 decibels for cars and 0-2 decibels for heavy vehicles.
The impact on climate and air pollution
20mph limits cut toxic diesel emissions. 40,000 people die early from fumes, 23 times more than a being involved in a road traffic incident.
20mph is the equivalent of taking over half the petrol cars off the road.
The Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants (COMEAP) estimates 29,000 equivalent deaths per year from UK exposure to PM2.5 (particulates).
Imperial College London found 20mph limits to improve air quality.
Impact on casualties
The people at 20 is plenty have created a Casualty cost and 20mph benefit calculator which shows the number of casualties reduced and financial benefits.
Bournemouth road traffic casualties on 30pmh roads were 349 in 2019 with a cost of £21.2 million, cost per person to be £107.
Expected casualty reduction of 15% with an expected annual benefit of £2.5m.
In England the cost of casualties on 30pmh roads is £3,252m and expected annual benefit is £520m.
Lower Speeds and the Economy
The opposition to reducing speed limits will usually cite lower speeds will impact on the economy.
This argument was given little support from the RAC Foundation who concluded ‘journey-time savings are often small’ and that congestion was the real problem.
The study by Sir Rod Eddington into the long-term links between transport and the UK’s economic productivity which concluded that:
‘Eliminating existing congestion on the road network would be worth some £7-8 billion of GDP per year’
Other areas in the Country adopting 20pmh
More than 1 in 3 of the population already live in areas with a 20mph speed limit, so we hope Christchurch will be added to this list.
Scottish Borders approved 20mph
Plans to set 20mph in villages and towns on the Scottish borders approved in December 2021.
This was a result of a trial of 125 survey sites and feedback from 8,000 members of the public.
Wales has agreed that 20mph will replace the current 30pmh as a national limit
Wales are moving closer to a default 20mph with trials starting this summer.
London given green light to 20mph
Following consultation, lower speeds given public support, part of the Vision Zero commitment to reduce deaths.
Oxfordshire plans to reduce 30mph to 20mph
The county of Oxfordshire are planning to create a safer place at a safer pace:
"It’s a hugely ambitious vision for Oxfordshire that can create a safer pace and a safer place. Making 20mph the new 30mph sits at the heart of all our active travel plans. Without this shift we'll never be able to persuade residents to make cycling and walking the natural first choice and reduce the dominance of vehicles in the hearts our towns and villages.
"I firmly believe this is an important step on the road to improving health and wellbeing. Combined with other measures it can create healthy, dynamic community spaces. There is huge local interest and desire to deliver 20mph within the county and the proposed policy and approach should make it easier and more cost effective to implement.
BCP’s statement of 20mph
This is the BCP's statement on 20mph speed limits:
Unfortunately, the only situations in which 20 mph zone schemes (or limits) are likely to be progressed at present is in roads where we would expect to achieve a reduction in existing casualty numbers and also where average speeds are already 24 mph or below. In addition, the police will not support increased demands to carry out routine enforcement where these limits are not self-enforcing. This is because there is insufficient evidence or research available to prove a definitive link between the introduction of 20mph limits and casualty reduction.
20 is Plenty - https://www.20splenty.org/