Lib Dem councillors have read with interest a report that has been published for ‘determination’ next Friday on the review of 20 MPH roads in the City. Normally reports would go to the Cabinet and we ‘can call them in’ to a select committee for further consideration. As committees are not meeting we cannot do that and reports are being agreed by the Mayor under delegated powers. So I have written to the Mayor and Chief Executive on our behalf asking them to voluntarily withdraw the report for full discussion before a decision is made.
The Liberal Democrats are in favour of the 20 mph zones, indeed we tabled a motion to Council to introduce them before the Labour administration put forward its own motion and report.
The figures show clearly that there has been a reasonable reduction in the total of collisions that have occurred between the three-year period before implementation, and the first full three years after completion of the zoning process. It rightly suggests that there are other benefits from this such as a reduction in air pollution, although this benefit has not been measured. These are good things with saving to the council and motorists from the reduction in collisions.
We are however, seriously concerned that the report ignores the most important figures within it when summarising what it wants to take forward. There has been an increase of 99 between the two, three-year periods in the KSI (Killed or Seriously Injured) rate between the two periods.
This only good news within the KSI figures are a decrease of 4 in the number of people aged between the ages of 10 and 15 between the two periods. This however, equates to only one case improvement per year and must be considered to be within the margins of statistical variance.
This KSI rate issue has not been developed in the report, apart from the bald reporting of the statistics but must be a key feature to be considered. Questions that we would like to ask include:
· Are the 20 mph zones being enforced by the police?
· If not should we be seeking powers of enforcement?
· Could we do more to involve local communities perhaps working with PCSOs or Special Constables to undertake speeding and shaming checks?
· Have they been designed properly?
· Should the figures be adjusted to allow for the growth in traffic and population in the area?
· Are they targeted properly around schools and youth facilities if the KSI rate for 10-15 year olds is showing only marginal improvement?
· Would other methods such as traffic exclusion zones around schools and other key buildings work better than the general imposition of 20 MPH zones?
I am sure that you will agree with me that the KSI rate is a significant fact that needs to be taken into consideration in any review of the 20mph zones. That is why I am optimistic that the Mayor will withdraw this matter for further (virtual) discussion.