Public support for 20mph zones

I recently asked Lincolnshire County Council’s leadership to consider making the introduction of a 20mph speed limit in all Lincolnshire residential areas, a manifesto promise for the forthcoming county council elections. I’m therefore very pleased to see that public support for such speed limits is increasing nationally.
I am however very disappointed to see the comment from the motoring pressure group. This clearly demonstrate an inability to actually look beyond their own selfish wish to drive how they like, wherever they like, whatever its potential impact on people and communities.

LGN & LocalGov Newsletter – 03 January 2013
By James Evison

Public support for 20mph zones has almost reached an outright majority, according to new research published this week.
According to the Independent, 62% of people now support the move toward 20mph zones, and a poll of local authorities suggested more councils were putting the policy in place with almost half respondents either applying the principle or waiting for fresh Department for Transport (DfT) guidance on the issue.
Last year, research by safety campaigners suggested 20mph areas in residential streets was having a positive impact on road safety, as data from Portsmouth City Council and other local authorities indicated.
Another piece of research by shared space expert Ben Hamilton-Baillie and cranial pathologists suggested that 20mph was a ‘natural’ limit for human impact with surfaces, as humans have evolved to run at a maximum speed similar to this limit – whereas beyond 20mph there is a significantly heightened change of brain damage.
Islington LBC has become one of the latest in a series of councils to implement the policy, as it begins to be rolled out nationally – with broad support from the DfT and local transport minister, Norman Baker.
Commons transport committee chair, Louise Ellman, told the Independent that the move would improve standards of road safety.
‘This is about responsible motoring. It will make our roads safer and more usable,’ she said.
‘There is clearly widespread support for this, but it’s important that there be local consultation as to exactly where these zones are defined.’
Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: ‘Cutting the speed limit to 20mph in residential areas can save lives.’
But the news was not met positively by the Alliance of British Motorists, who warned could actually make it more dangerous by encouraging ‘driving to the speedometer’ and not paying close attention to what is happening outside of the vehicle.

PPG13 amendment not all that it seems

Is there no hope for us?  Even the one man who should be above going off half cocked on all things planning – unlike certain ministers – has yet again allowed his name to be put to a piece of headline grabbing psuedo-localism.  This time in the form of another letter to all local planning authorities. 

The letter said: “…the Government is changing some of the text in Planning Policy Guidance 13: Transport (PPG13) to better reflect localism. The Government’s position on parking standards is that local authorities are best placed to take account of local circumstances and are able to make the right decisions for the benefit of their communities. As such, the central requirement to express ‘maximum’ parking standards for new residential development has been deleted.”

Parking standards will still need to be set, but it will be for local authorities to determine what that standard should be.

Wrong!  As pointed out by a planning professional in a recent email, what the chief planner has said, especially the bits in bold,  are just empty words, when it comes to any form of localism on this issue, because he has ‘conveniently’ forgotten to delete another bit of PPG13 that says:

Parking

50. In developing and implementing policies on parking, local authorities should:

2.  not require developers to provide more spaces than they themselves wish, other than in exceptional circumstances………’

So, having rushed to my copy of the Local Plan and scrawled out all references to  a maximum parking standards in residential development, in order to reduce the amount of pavement parking and front gardens being lost to parking places, I find that the developer is still able, with the blessing of government, to tell me to get stuffed!  Another victory for the localism agenda.