Councillors Request Objective Assessment into 20mph Schemes

Extract from draft MINUTES OF THE FULL COUNCIL MEETING OF BRISTOL CITY COUNCIL HELD ON 11 NOVEMBER 2014 AT 6.00 p.m. 

CNL 53.11/14  MOTIONS (agenda item 10) 

Within the time available at the meeting, the Full Council considered the following motion: 

a. Cessation in roll-out of 20 mph speed limits 

Councillor Alexander moved: 

“Council notes with concern the growing doubts which have been expressed over the efficacy of the mayor’s controversial 20 mph speed zones. At the time of writing, the Authority is halfway through this costly roll-out, with a Speed Limit Order pending for the so-called Inner Ring East section of the city. 

Evidence from the prototype (Portsmouth) model and anecdotal reports locally suggest that these limits may actually make some of our roads/streets more dangerous or are simply being routinely ignored by motorists. 

Accordingly, Council calls on Mayor Ferguson to put an immediate stop to this programme to allow an objective assessment to be made into these schemes. Their success should be judged in strict scientific safety terms and not rely on some shifting, subjective, criteria such as whether or not speed limits have a ‘civilising effect’ on Bristol communities and neighbourhoods.” 

Councillor Eddy seconded the motion. 

Councillor Mongon then moved the following amendment: 

– That the motion be amended to read as follows: 

“Council notes the concern which has been expressed over the efficacy of the Mayor’s 20 mph speed zones. At the time of writing, the Authority is halfway through this roll-out, with a Speed Limit Order pending for the so-called Inner Ring East section of the city. 

Evidence from other cities, such as Portsmouth and London, show that success comes when there is local support for the zones and where they are reinforced by other road safety and traffic calming measures. Indeed the British Medical Journal found that “20 mph zones are effective measures for reducing road injuries and deaths.” 

Accordingly, Council resolves to invite the Mayor to request that Place Scrutiny undertakes an objective assessment into these schemes, and calls on Mayor Ferguson to give Neighbourhood Partnerships the powers to identify, prioritise and agree appropriate 20 mph speed zones for their communities and the resources to implement them properly including appropriate and complementary traffic calming measures.” 

The amendment was seconded by Cllr Weston. 

Following debate, upon being put to the vote, the amendment was CARRIED (37 members voting for the amendment, 16 members voting against the amendment, with 6 abstentions). 

Following further debate on the substantive, amended motion, it was then RESOLVED (36 members voting in favour, 20 against, with 5 abstentions) – 

Council notes the concern which has been expressed over the efficacy of the Mayor’s 20 mph speed zones. At the time of writing, the Authority is halfway through this roll-out, with a Speed Limit Order pending for the so-called Inner Ring East section of the city. 

Evidence from other cities, such as Portsmouth and London, show that success comes when there is local support for the zones and where they are reinforced by other road safety and traffic calming measures. Indeed the British Medical Journal found that “20 mph zones are effective measures for reducing road injuries and deaths.” 

Accordingly, Council resolves to invite the Mayor to request that Place Scrutiny undertakes an objective assessment into these schemes, and calls on Mayor Ferguson to give Neighbourhood Partnerships the powers to identify, prioritise and agree appropriate 20 mph speed zones for their communities and the resources to implement them properly including appropriate and complementary traffic calming measures.

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So, there we have it; another democratic decision agreed by a large majority of councillors that has been passed to the Mayor for action. In short, this is polite Council-speak for “no further action”. However, I would dearly love to be proved wrong!

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One Response to Councillors Request Objective Assessment into 20mph Schemes

  1. David Mayer says:

    I fear you may be right!

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