24th Oct, 2016

Council puts brakes on 20mph calls

Evesham Editorial 22nd May, 2015 Updated: 20th Oct, 2016

CALLS to introduce widespread 20mph speed limits on roads across Worcestershire have been rejected by council chiefs.

Members of the Green Party and Liberal Democrat group launched a bid which urged highways bosses to consider reducing speeds in residential areas.

However, at a meeting of full council last Thursday (May 14), the motion was thrown out along with an amended bid, which included carrying out a pilot scheme in the county.

Coun Matthew Jenkins, who put forward the original motion, said he believed widespread 20mph speed limits would not only reduce the number of deaths, but also reduce obesity and heart disease as it would encourage more people to walk and cycle.

“At lower speeds, streets will be transformed into places where more healthier activities can happen as people feel safer outside,” he said.

“Twenty miles per hour speed limits are being introduced by councils of all different political control.

“I know Coun Andy Robers is very keen to have sign-only 20mph speed limits in Warndon Villages and also by talking to various residents in my division it is exceptionally popular.

“So we need to stop delaying taking action and invest in the well-being of residents in Worcestershire.”

Coun Fran Oborski added: “If traffic speeds in residential areas are reduced parents will feel more confident about letting their children walk or cycle to school.

“That not only has health benefits for the child, but also plays a great part in reducing congestion and pollution in residential areas around our schools.”

A number of Labour councillors also backed the bid, with party leader Coun Peter McDonald saying the proposed move could reduce accidents involving young pedestrians by 70 per cent.

Coun Pat Agar said council bosses should look at launching pilot projects around Worcestershire, which was backed by Coun Richard Udall, who suggested it be introduced in Dines Green in Worcester.

“One of the biggest concerns on the estate is speeding traffic,” Coun Udall added. “It would be easy and straight forward to convert the entire estate to 20mph zones and to work with local enforcement agencies to ensure enforcement can take place.

“My plea is to give it a try and let us reclaim the streets for the residents and their children and force those who use killer speeds off our road.”

Coun Udall’s amended bid had the support of 13 councillors, but 33 voted against it and six abstained before Coun Jenkins’ motion was also ruled out by 30 votes to 21, with one abstaining.