Mr John Dinnie read out the following statement:
“Chair, Councillors thank you for the opportunity to speak.
I think I understand the problem. The report of the task and finish group (TFG) has been called back for not considering all the evidence. Not adequately giving the detail of the desk top studies and being inconsistent with the Council Plan. Your officer has responded by drawing attention to the Atkins report, re-publishing some of the desk top data and attempting to identify the real problem by referring to a ‘range of policy approaches’. The Task and Finish brief was too narrow. The problem for you is the Atkins Report is low on statistically significant data to conclusively prove the case either way. However, there is enough evidence to reach a conclusion and they do.
Those graphs of modest improvement are telling you this is the right way to go. Just do it better. Don’t accept the Tyranny of the average – emulate the outliers. – Change your recommendation. – Align with Atkins.
In section 12.5:
The DfT Circular 01/2013 is valid. Traffic authorities should implement area-wide 20mph limits on:
• major streets where there are journeys on foot, or cycle and
• residential streets where the streets are being used by people on foot and on bicycles, there is community support, and the characteristics of the street are suitable and there should be no expectation on the police to provide additional enforcement beyond their routine activity. Those are the recommendations you should be going forward with.
For local decision-makers Atkins refers us to section 2.6:
Stressing Integrated Approach – 20mph schemes have the potential to deliver health, environmental and community benefits greater than the road safety benefits. Your officer is pointing you towards the broad integrated policy agenda (involving health, environment, urban planning, emergency services, education, community representatives, complementary transport, and community policy). These reinforce messages about safety, active travel, and associated benefits. Despite the finely balanced data, Atkins is telling you to be bold, like Brighton, to obtain the wider community benefits.
The message is in there – The faster vehicles slow down more. Learn from Portsmouth and Liverpool. Do it but do it better. Thank you very much”
Mr David Passingham read out the following statement:
“I’m representing 20’s Plenty Warwickshire but I’m also part of the Shipston campaign. When we started our campaign in Shipston for 20mph a few months ago we were asking for 20mph in the centre of the town only. During research we went to a zoom workshop given by the national 20’s Plenty Campaign. We learnt that United Nations endorses 20mph speed limits where people mix with motor vehicles, unless strong evidence exists that higher speeds are safe. We learnt that 20mph is Government policy. The UK recently signed the Stockholm Declaration with 130 other nations, agreeing on a default 20mph limit wherever cyclists and pedestrians mix with motor vehicles. We learnt that 28 million people live in areas where the Councils have decided to make 20mph default including the whole of Scotland and Wales. We were told about case studies where town wide 20mph schemes had been shown to work.
We were shown that there are other benefits to 20mph limits:
Less crash costs for the NHS, more active travel, 50% noise reduction, 25% CO2 reduction and improved air quality. Originally, I would have been very happy with this Task & Finish Group report. But over the last few months I have seen more evidence of what has worked around the country and heard from national experts. The Task & Finish group should have heard such evidence – but did not. If all these other councils are introducing 20mph cost effectively why does the Task & Finish study show it isn’t. Should they have looked at what other places have done? If it is government policy to make 20mph the default speed limit, why isn’t Warwickshire trying to implement it?”
Mr Stan Sabin read out the following statement:
“Good morning Chairman and councillors I’m Stan Sabin, Chairman of Radford Semele Parish Council. I'm actually going to focus on a scheme that we tried to introduce in Radford more than two to three years ago, before the 20's Plenty campaign actually came to Warwickshire. I am proud to represent one of the 17 town and parish councils that have had the foresight to pass motions in support of the 20's Plenty for Us campaign. My Council endeavours to be proactive rather than reactive which is why pre-pandemic we started to look at ways of improving the road safety of vulnerable groups within our village. We propose to purchase a number of advisory 20’s plenty signs which was unanimously carried. In February-March 2021 we contacted Highways to obtain permission to fix these signs to street furniture, luckily, we had not purchased the signs as the reply from Highways was a resounding ‘no you can't do it, the manual and the computer says no’. Our initiative received support from our County Councillor, Councillor Redford, the now Portfolio Holder for Transport & Planning; he challenged the then Portfolio Holder Jeff Clark with the words, ‘Are we serious here? We have a local parish council endeavouring to create a safer environment for its residents at no cost to WCC (Warwickshire County Council) and our response is no more than to discourage a local initiative? Is this how WCC encourages local councils to take responsibility for their community?’ It's unfortunate that Councillor Redford actually didn't say those words in the Cabinet meeting which actually accepted the task and finish group (TFG) report, it might have had a different outcome. The task and finish group report is actually flawed, poor representation of the facts, or not representing the correct facts at all. Publicising that a blanket limit for the county was being pursued is not the case, and the trouble is that has led to misrepresentation within the press; no one would think of putting in a 20mph limit on the M40. This is to protect vulnerable persons, children in areas where they mix with cars. And also the other resulting aspect of this is when we haven't got an authority to use 20mph it then means excessive costs because every case there must be looked at as an individual application, whereas if it was in force then it be a lot easier to change traffic regulation orders (TROs). Thank you.”
Mr Michael Ray read out the following statement:
“Good morning and thank you for letting me talk. I’m presenting 20mph limits just for Southam, a focused approach. As most of you know, Southam is located in a hub of roads; it's southwest of the Leamington, southwest of Rugby, west of Daventry, south of Coventry and north of Banbury. Consequently, it is a hub of five A roads and two B roads which converge on the town. The A423 bypass on the east side of the town has three roundabouts and pedestrian lights, and the A425 to the south of the town has one roundabout and two sets of traffic lights. The centre of the town to the west of the bypass has several schools, shops, a pharmacy, bank, post office, a number of churches, plus an array of food outlets and other retailers and services. In the same area are a number of residential properties including a Thithe Lodge, a significant number of which have insufficient access to available off-street parking. The 20's Plenty initiative was put before the Southam Town Council to consider and the members were invited to suggest roads which would benefit from a 20mph limits. It was resolved that all local roads leading in and out of the town, roughly in alignment with the conservation area, are proposed. The rationale for the decision was commuter traffic ahead of the bypass as tail backs at times at peak time and the distance travelled can be shorter than taking the by-pass e.g., Leamington Road – Coventry Road. This is compounded by sat-nav directing the shortest route. In addition, the town centre has a high density of both young and old persons at busy times of the day. Reducing the speed and of traffic through the centre of the town (plus identified short cuts) would dis-incentivise through traffic whilst having no significant material impact on local residents. A number of roads had been identified of which I provided a list but the benefits for the community would be to reduce through commuter traffic flow, improve free flow of residents traffic, reduced traffic pollution, reduce traffic noise, provide a safer pedestrian access to the town, and safer traffic flow on road parking pinch points. Thank you.”
Councillor Bill Gifford made the following statement, “Thank you for allowing me to speak. I was one of those who signed the call-in and one of those who sat on the task and finish group. I have to say having listened to the public speakers, a lot of what I was going to say has already been said but said more eloquently than I would have said it. What I would really suggest is that the County Council be bold and look at the evidence from elsewhere, which we really didn't get an opportunity to do; and indeed, as a task and finish group we didn't have an opportunity to listen to the to the public which I think is unfortunate. We need to be bold because we stated as a council, that we want modal shift, and it's difficult to get that modal shift anyway, but reducing the speed limit in towns and villages would certainly help get that modal shift in a way that if people don't feel safe walking or cycling they are more likely to use their cars and less likely to move to walking or cycling so that in itself is a good reason. I've always been in favour of speed limit change rather than zones, I feel that zones are divisive for communities. Have look at those results in London and a few days ago, to see how divisive they can be the communities. It's also confusing for a driver from elsewhere if they go from 30 to 20 back up to 30 whereas if you're travelling through Radford Semele or Leamington, it's going to be a 20mph limit throughout the village or the town. It's straightforward and you go to 20mph, nice and easy for the police who don’t need to do any more than they do which is enforce the speed limit whether it be 20 or 30. I don't see any difference from now if it's easier for them to do. The final thing I would like to say is no member of the public has ever asked me to increase the speed limit and the 30mph speed was set nearly 90 years ago and no real evidence was used at the time, whereas now have plenty of evidence that 20mph is a sensible speed limit in a built-up area.
The Chair thanked the public speakers for attending.