Elected representatives must prioritise which policy ideas to action first based on factors like maximising the benefits, how easy policies are to deliver, achieving cross-party consensus, manifesto promises and responding to community asks. 20mph limits tick all the boxes since they benefit all age groups, genders and rich and poor alike. 20mph limits are a proven, affordable, popular and ‘can-do’ policy.
Elected politicians want to make a difference, but are not always sure what idea to champion next. Predicting likelihood of success is key. Changes must be deliverable – i.e. affordable, popular policies which will win the many Councillor votes needed to get it into a budget and which won’t be reversed.
Elected Mayors, County and City Councillors in Unitaries have crucial powers to set local speed limits. Wide-area 20mph limits without humps - 20’s Plenty - is a great policy to champion for many important reasons:
- Benefits Everyone – A 20mph default speed limit is a wide-area policy. All age groups, both genders and constituents of all wards will gain safer, more pleasant streets where local shops thrive and property values increase as they become more desirable places to be outdoors.
- Popular and Long Lasting - 72% support residential 20mph limits without humps. Only 11% were against in the British Social Attitudes Survey. 14.5m people live in UK authorities committed to 20mph and more are joining in as news of its success spreads. Camden’s Transport lead Cllr Phil Jones said “20mph was the most popular policy I’ve ever implemented”. Once signed on the streets 20mph limits have never been removed. There’s invariably even greater resident support after signs are in.
- Cross Party Support - Across the UK, Conservative, Lib-Dem, Labour and Green administrations have all chosen authority-wide 20mph. Consensus policies are key if votes are tight or there is no overall control.
- Evidence Based – Strong proof of success has led to the Department for Transport and Public Health professionals including the World Health Organisation and NICE recommending wide-area 20mph limits.
- Affordable – 20mph costs just £2.50-3 per head for residential streets. Costs fall further when almost all roads are included and fewer 20mph repeater signs are required. Public health funds can contribute. Main roads where 30mph remains the appropriate limit can be exempted.
- Pays Back –Casualties fall by 20%. There are also huge health gains from exercise and its better for tourists. The return is high (often paying back within a year) with long lasting benefits from a single spend.
- Healthy – People walk, cycle, exercise and play out more on safer roads and pavements.
- Ecological – traffic fumes and fuel usage fall as acceleration between 20-30mph becomes unnecessary. Some leave the car behind more often thus reducing congestion and further improving air quality.
Most people enter politics to “make a difference” in their community. 20mph makes sense as a deliverable change for a better future that all parties can agree on. Residents will love the difference that 20mph limits makes to them enjoying healthier, happier lives in a calmer public realm.
Councillors (and residents through their Councillors) can request that “20’s Plenty” appears on Party Group and Council meeting agendas and questions. Prioritise 20mph – it’s deliverable, proven, will win support and really can “make your place a better place to be!”