Labour-run York City Council's plan for a city wide 20 mph speed limit is being opposed by Lib Dem councillors. A consultation on the "roll out" to West York of the speed limit resulted in seven residents out of the 13,000 consulted supporting the £500,000 scheme – so Labour decided to press ahead.
Cllr Steve Galloway says:
Evidence from elsewhere in the country with blanket schemes undermines the recommendation. In Portsmouth casualty levels are higher than before the scheme was implemented and in Oxford “a similar pattern is emerging”. In Bristol residents do not feel that the roads are safer or that speeding has reduced. And returning to Portsmouth, the scheme has not encouraged a ‘modal shift’ away from car use or encouraged cycling and walking with analysis concluding that the scheme “made little difference to the majority of respondents in the amount they travelled by their chosen mode”.
The evidence is that locally and nationally the police do not have the resources or inclination to enforce all new 20mphs, with the Association of Chief Police Officers telling Parliament in March that “We are not enforcing 20mph speed limits at this moment in time”.
Cllr Galloway is quite right. One could make a cheap shot by pointing out that in Portsmouth it is a Lib Dem council that has been responsible for the misconceived initiative. However, I eschew such point scoring. Cllr Galloway and his colleagues are right to look at the evidence and make their own judgment.
That is what localism means.