At this time of the year it is traditional to take stock of achievements and progress in the preceding year. For 20’s Plenty for Us then perhaps 2015 will be seen as the “tipping point” when the whole campaign took on new dimensions and success. It does not mean that in 2015 we achieved our aims of delivering a 20mph limit as the norm for all residential streets in the UK, but was the year when we started to see that that aim was going to be deliverable in the foreseeable future.
The first indication of changing attitudes was the issuing of new guidance from Transport Scotland in January 2015 on 20mph limits. This replaced the outdated guidance from 2001 and swept aside the previous policy of advisory 20mph limits and instead advocated mandatory 20mph limits “near schools, in residential areas and in other areas of our towns and cities where there is a significant volume of pedestrian and cyclist activity. This was followed almost immediately by Edinburgh announcing that the City Council had approved a 20mph limit for 80+% of city roads. The London Borough of Lewisham also voted for a Fairer 20mph Limit for All Lewisham Roads.
In February we started to make the case for Scotland to use its anticipated devolved powers to set a national 20mph urban limit and Warrington won awards for its 20mph roll-out, Bristol with its 20mph limits was voted “most desirable city in the UK and Brighton won both the Top Transport award and was named “City of the Year” in the CIVITAS Awards. At the same time NICE reviewed “tackling the causes of early death” and reminded councils that 20mph is cost effective as the recommended speed limit for child protection and to support public sector equality duties.
March saw our 6th annual 20mph conference being held in Cambridge where we set out the case for a national 20mph limit for England. We also reported on the great progress in London Boroughs which in just 3 months had seen Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Hackney, Croydon, Hounslow and Wandsworth making substantial progress on their 20mph borough roll-outs. TfL even announced the trial of 20mph limits with enforcement on many of the Red Routes. These joined Islington, Camden and the City of London and meant that by summer 2015 over a third of Londoners would be living in 20mph boroughs.
April included an invite to present at the Irish Road Safety Agency conference in Dublin where we presented the case for 30km/h limits and how central government should be facilitating local 30km/h implementations. See the video of the presentation here.
Later in December we were delighted when Kilkenny became Ireland’s first place to introduce 30km/h limits on all its housing estate. Thanks very much to the strong local campaigning by Roseanne Brennan after her son, Jake, was killed in 2014. The “Love 30” campaign is now making headway in Ireland with its advocacy of 30km/h limits. April also included a multi-page article on the campaign in Local Transport Today.
In June we assisted in Edinburgh’s 20mph roll-out at their Ready for 20 launch in the capital.
Moving forward to September we saw the London Borough of Lewisham announcing its 20mph plans which meant that by July 2016 10 of the 13 Inner London Boroughs would have borough-wide 20mph limits. An 11th inner borough, Wandsworth has also announced its intention to consult on 20mph limits for all its residential roads. We were also invited by Bristol City Council to assist the celebration of the final phase of their 20mph plans. Transport Scotland also announced the trialling of 20mph limits on main routes through several Scottish towns.
We were also delighted when StreetFilms of New York published the video from their visit to London when Anna, Jeremy and myself were able to talk about the progress of the campaign. The video later went on to win the Favourite Streetfilm award. Our very first "Streetsie".
In November we were presenting at the Road Safety Markings Association annual conference, whilst in December we were asked to travel to South America and present to invited officers, media and politicians in Sao Paulo on the benefits and progress of 20mph/30kmh campaigns and initiatives in UK and Europe. 20's Plenty were presenting alongside the World Health Organisation, WRI Sustainable Cities and Monash University (Victoria, Australia). City transport officials also announced their first 30km/h zones being set in Sao Paulo.
During all this time Anna was supporting local campaigns around the country and working on our numerous briefing sheets/press releases, whilst Jeremy was co-ordinating our London activities. And of course with nearly 300 local campaigns then our local activists were doing huge work in making the case for 20mph limits in their communities. This included thousands of tweets, posts, comments, media interviews and emails from all our campaigners.
Our partner organisations of BRAKE, Living Streets, CTC, British Cycling and RoadPeace have also being very pro-active on the need to adopt a national 20mph default urban limit and helping to ensure that we make real progress on this transition.
Now we have over 15m people living in 20mph boroughs. We have more than half of the largest 40 urban authorities with a default 20mph policy, including most of the UK’s iconic cities. The case has clearly been made for lower speed limits and the outdated national 30mph limit has been rejected by so many local authorities and government guidance changing to mean it no longer is appropriate for so much of our urban environment.
We have also developed a new website with better information and integration with social media. We are also increasingly recognised from an international perspective in being one of the most effective organisations in creating a more liveable environment.
2015 was an undoubted success story for 20’s Plenty for Us. My congratulations and thanks to all who played their part in 2015 including campaigners, councillors, council officals, transport consultants and the media. We look forward to moving forward in 2016. Our key events will be our two national conferences on 26th February in the City of London and on June 8th in Edinburgh. The agendas for these conferences are coming together well and more information may be found in our events section.
Best wishes to you all in 2016.
Rod King - MBE
Founder and Campaign Director