Is your authority planning to ask resident opinion on 20mph? Could you bring forward the issue or debate by doing your own consultation? Ensure that those who’ll say YES respond by using these tried and tested tactics.
Either your authority has voted to consult on 20mph options or campaigners could start their own public consultation to bounce politicians or candidates to support it and be accountable. Whilst 70+% support signs only 20mph in surveys, some may need a nudge to reply YES to a consultation in the right time frame. Those against tend to complete forms whilst those in favour might not do so in convincing numbers unless told how, canvassed and nudged.
Wording - Ask to be consulted on the authority’s question wording and supporting information. Ask to include that the World Health Organisation (WHO) state “A safe speed on roads with possible conflicts between cars and pedestrians, cyclists or other vulnerable road users is 20mph”. Public Health England, The Assoc. of Directors of Public Health, Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and NICE all support 20mph to prevent child injuries. Ask to include the advantages and disadvantages of each option plus the costs and who pays. The major disadvantage of the do nothing option is about 22% more casualties than with wide area 20mph.
Target Numbers? Guess how many extra Yes responses could expected to make a difference based on other consultations eg if Marlborough got no more than 400 responses from 42,000 people previously, then an extra approx. 200-250 canvassed responses ensures a strong majority Yes. Aim for at least 60% approval. Eg. to get 200, then over six weeks, aim for 5 Yes responses per day.
Distribution? Check with the authorities how the consultation will be distributed (e.g. are photocopies accepted)? Is there an online version? Can children respond? Is it only residents or visitors/people who work locally?
When? Six weeks duration? Start and end dates? If only original consultation forms delivered door to door are acceptable then campaigners must door knock in a timely way (or forms go to recycling). Prepare consultation response photocopies (if allowed) and make short leaflets about why 20mph. Write articles that explain how to respond and be ready to send them to the media, school newsletter etc.
Who? Ask friends, families, those who don’t look busy, waiting outside schools, at social clubs, church and local pubs. Ideally carry a couple of clipboards (or just carboard with a clip), response forms and pens. Ask wherever people gather eg at a school or eco fair. Canvassing door to door until you get your target number completed is very effective. Ask for volunteers eg to do their own streets/local contacts. Some might respond No to 20mph even when canvassed. We recommend you submit those to the authorities too - it could look suspicious if all canvassed answers are Yes.
Maximising online responses. Ideally you’d already have an email list of your 20mph campaign supporters to tell, plus details of likely supporters eg. environmentalist, disability groups, cyclists as well as politicians and media. Or make one and email them all to share the consultation to their contacts. Post consultation details on social media eg facebook, local mumsnet, neighbourhood sites. Respond to local press comments pages.
Anna Semlyen National Campaign Manager of 20’s Plenty for Us said “Don’t leave a 20mph consultation to chance. Actively lobby those likely to be supportive to make their voices count.”