20mph limit 'not way to cut accidents'

Blanket 20mph speed limits are not the answer to cutting accidents on Norfolk's roads, according to the county's transport chiefs.The Department for Transport is seeking the views of local councils on the lower limits and the possibility of cutting speeds on rural roads from 60mph to 50mph.

Blanket 20mph speed limits are not the answer to cutting accidents on Norfolk's roads, according to the county's transport chiefs.

The Department for Transport is seeking the views of local councils on the lower limits and the possibility of cutting speeds on rural roads from 60mph to 50mph.

But a report in response to the 'safer way ahead' consultation being considered by the county council's planning and transportation overview and scrutiny panel questioned whether speed cuts in themselves would be effective.

The report, which will be discussed next Wednesday, notes that the authority's ruling Tory administration would not support the 'wholesale introduction' of a 20mph limit.


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Adrian Gunson, the council's cabinet member for transport, said a targeted approach was more effective - and said he would support a lower limit outside of schools if it was part of a national reduction.

'Our experience is that unless you have physical measures such as speed humps or chicanes, people will actually go faster,' he said. 'A lot of people who break the limits are people who live near them.

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'I am not opposed to the principle in urban areas, and I think a limit in cul-de-sacs would be perfectly reasonable.

'Targeting is what the county council has done, and it's far better to target than to do across-the-board measures which are unenforceable.'

In Norwich, Labour, Lib Dem and Green city councillors have all supported 20mph speed limits and there is a trial taking place in three areas.

Brian Morrey, executive member for sustainable development and city living, said the speed cuts had worked well, particularly on some of the city's estates and he was surprised the county council had given its view before the trial ended later this month.

'It's been a real boon, and it's popular with most residents,' he said. 'It may not work on roads that are really straight, and there's one or two areas where there are problems.

'But I think if you reduce to 20mph, most people wouldn't even notice it as they don't go much faster than that.'

And Judith Lubbock, transport spokesman for the Lib Dems at Norwich City Council, said: 'It's disappointing that the county has taken that approach.

'It's something that's new and could work. We are entering new ways of thinking and I'm disappointed that they do not want Norwich to be at the forefront.

'Some streets are going to need enforcing, but don't some 30mph streets need enforcing?'

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