Air Quality, Covid-19 and How 20mph Limits Help Us To Breathe Easily
As a disease that dramatically affects our respiratory system it is hardly surprising that there is a link between the quality of air we breathe, and our subsequent ability to cope with Covid-19. Here we discuss air quality and how it can be improved with an emergency national default 20mph urban limit.Read more
Here are some of the other NGOs and organisations that are joining our support for the doctors in their call for an emergency national 20mph urban limit. If you would like to add a comment in support then please email us at [email protected]
Rachel White, Head of Public Affairs
“We strongly support this campaign to reduce the default speed limit to 20mph in urban areas during the Covid-19 crisis. The majority of pedestrian and cycling injuries occur in built-up areas as a result of collisions with motor vehicles. And higher speed limits increase the chance of incidents and the severity of injuries from a collision."“Implementing a 20mph Emergency National Urban Limit will take pressure off the NHS during this time of crisis by preventing avoidable collisions, and will improve road safety for those who need to make essential journeys. We're hopeful that the benefits of lower speed limits will be realised during this time, and 20mph will remain the default long after this crisis is over."
Alice Roberts, Head of Green Space Campaigns
"20mph speed limits are vital alongside measures to reduce traffic and car dominance to make sure people can live safe, pollution-free, active lives"
David Harrison, Vice Chair London Living Streets
"London's streets are very different places from just a few weeks ago. We have fewer vehicles, some travelling much faster than before, and many more people either heading to the shops every day often on foot or cycling or taking their daily exercise and trying to stay carefully distanced from others. Often this means they have to step into the road to avoid others or they are walking and cycling in the road sometimes with children many of whom are scooting or cycling. In this environment it is vital that drivers play their part by moving slowly so as to keep others safe and free from intimidation.London Living Streets wholeheartedy supports our doctors' calls for an emergency urban speed limit of 20mph to keep everyone using the roads as safe as possible at this time."
Emma Griffin, Founder Action Vision Zero"
Action Vision Zero has been appalled at the way a minority of drivers have taken advantage of the emptier streets to drive at high speed. There are numerous reports of high speeds recorded not only on arterial roads but also in busy urban streets where people are increasingly reliant on walking and cycling to get shopping and for daily exercise. It is vital that we do not increase the burden on the NHS with preventable road crashes and doctors are right to point out that lowering the urban speed limit to 20mph is one action that the UK Government can take immediately. Please listen to the medics' calls and take this action as a matter of urgency."
Victoria Lebrec, Campaign Coordinator for RoadPeace, the national charity for road crash victims
"Increased speed makes a crash more likely to happen, and also increases the severity of a crash. Whilst less vehicles are on the roads, traffic police in urban areas have reported seeing a significant increase in speeds. This comes at a time when key workers are walking and cycling as an alternative to public transport, and the NHS is already stretched as it readies itself to deal with the COVID-19 peak. Lowering the speed limit is crucial in order to minimise death and serious injury. Not only to prevent the tragedies they inherently are, but also so that no extra pressure is added to the health service at this time of crisis. Being seriously injured at this time inevitably means care will not be as it normally would, resources are detracted from dealing with the pandemic, and the victim runs the risk of contracting COVID-19."
Josh Harris, Director of Campaigns
“Alongside our friends at 20’s Plenty, Brake has long called for the national default urban limit to be reduced to 20mph – it’s the only safe speed for places where people are in close proximity to motor traffic. COVID-19 has altered the landscape of our communities and we’re seeing less motor traffic and more people walking and cycling on roads, getting daily exercise and adhering to social distancing. These are positive developments, giving us a glimpse of a safer and healthier future, but with disturbing reports of increased speeding, and a renewed impetus to ease the burden on our stretched emergency services and NHS, we need to do more to reduce road collisions. 20mph limits are a simple way to make our communities safer and healthier and so we support the emergency 20mph national urban limit but believe safe limits should be for life, not just for lockdown.”
Jenni Wiggle, Interim CEO, Living Streets
"Social distancing is an essential part of the COVID-19 response. However, keeping two metres apart on narrow and obstructed footpaths isn't easy and inevitably leads to people walking on the carriageway. There are fewer vehicles on our roads now that people are being encouraged to only take vital journeys. However, this has resulted in a minority of drivers taking advantage of lighter traffic to speed.
A move to a national limit of 20mph would not only increase road safety, but would make it easier for drivers to anticipate and respond to people in the road."
Tom Bogdanowicz, Senior Policy and Development Officer, London Cycling Campaign
"20mph has long been recommended by public health bodies for urban areas, as such a limit reduces air pollution and dangerous driving. We join the call to urgently implement a default 20mph urban speed limit during this crisis, particularly because so many keyworkers are now cycling to work, and many people are forced to keep their distance from others by using the carriageway, yet, sadly, some drivers are clocking up dangerous speeds resulting in unnecessary road anger to others. Reducing road danger and unnecessary driving are vital all the time, but particularly during this pandemic."
Alice Ferguson, Co-Director, Playing Out
"Playing Out supports the call for a default 20mph limit on residential streets. Children need to be able to play out where they live, for their health and wellbeing and to feel part of their community. The main barrier to this is danger from traffic - we know that where streets are safe, children can and do play out freely. A 20mph default limit - ideally accompanied by physical measures and enforcement - is a good baseline for creating safe, liveable streets for children and communities."
Embargoed till Thursday 9th April
Today, April 9th, sees the launch of a national campaign supported by leading doctors to call upon the UK Government to demand 20mph as an Emergency National Urban Limit. We all want to help the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis. The doctors that we are relying on have called on the UK Government to change the national speed limit to 20mph from 30mph. They are clear that setting a 20mph speed limit will reduce pressure on the NHS now and for the future. 20’s Plenty for Us, the national campaign for 20mph limits with 460 local community campaigns, is supporting our doctors’ calls for the UK Government to act now.Read more
As England re-enters lockdown we renew our support of doctors calling for the urban speed limit to be reduced to 20mph.
Today, April 9th, sees the launch of a national campaign supported by leading doctors to call upon the UK Government to demand 20mph as an Emergency National Urban Limit. We all want to help the NHS during the Covid-19 crisis. The doctors that we are relying on have called on the UK Government to change the national speed limit to 20mph from 30mph. They are clear that setting a 20mph speed limit will reduce pressure on the NHS now and for the future. 20’s Plenty for Us, the national campaign for 20mph limits with 460 local community campaigns, is supporting our doctors’ calls for the UK Government to act now.
There has never been a more urgent time for Government action to protect the NHS from having to treat preventable road casualties, so keeping resources and beds free for Covid-19 patients. Setting a national 20mph limit is an affordable, practical and cost-effective step that the UK Government is able to take to help the NHS and support our doctors at this critical time.
Doctors have named their campaign ‘lower the baseline’ load on the NHS https://lowerthebaseline.org/
Dr Robert Hughes (London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) and 109 other doctors wrote in the Times on 25th March
“..each month there are nearly 3,000 road traffic collision-related admissions to NHS hospitals in England alone. Lowering and enforcing speed limits would reduce the frequency and severity of road traffic collisions.”
A British Medical Journal blog by population health expert Prof. Sunil Bhopal on 24th March said
“First, we suggest an immediate reduction in motor vehicle speed limits. In England alone there are around 35,000 non-fatal admissions to hospital every year related to road traffic accidents; … In Canada, lowering the speed limit from 40km/h to 30km/h (20mph) was associated with a 28% decrease in pedestrian-motor vehicle collisions and a 67% decrease in major and fatal injuries. We therefore suggest that the government urgently explore an emergency reduction of all national speed limits to 50mph, and to 20mph in urban areas.”
Rod King MBE, Founder and Campaign Director of 20’s Plenty for Us said
“It is in the Government’s power and interest to change all 30mph limits to 20mph by making appropriate public announcements, without any need to change road signs. The precedent already exists to change national speed limits in an emergency. The Government changed national speed limits in the 1974 fuel crisis to save petrol and it must do this in the 2020 Covid-19 crisis to save lives. This move will match the mood all of us to do everything possible for our NHS resources and staff.”
Note :- Driving less fast prevents collisions and reduces the numbers and severity of road victims the NHS has to care for at this critical time. In 2019 the Welsh Government started planning a national 20mph policy. In February 2020, the UK signed up to an enforced 20mph national speed limit in the ‘Stockholm Declaration’ of global best practice for speeds in built-up areas.
20’s Plenty can arrange spokespeople calling for the change: Dr Robert Hughes, Prof Sunil Bhopal and Rod King MBE. Also available are: Prof Adrian Davis, Edinburgh Napier University and Dr. Sarah Jones, Public Health Wales. Contact Rod King at [email protected] or 07973 639781 for interviews with spokespeople
This section of our website is dedicated to our 20's Plenty for the NHS campaign.
Our campaign in support of doctors is very much one with public backing. Here we show videos from people around the country saying why they support the doctors in their call for an emergency national 20mph urban limit. You can share a video on social media just by clicking on the paper dart symbol when you hover over a video. Please do.
If you would like to record a video for adding your support then please email us as [email protected] and we will provide instructions.
Dr Adrian Davis
Dr Claire Mason
Prof Alan Tapp
Marieke de Jonge
Rod King MBE
The current Covid-19 Crisis is of major concern and governments are looking at ways to protect their population and reduce the number of deaths from this new threat. We are not advocating 20mph limits as a cure, but we believe there is good evidence of how communities already implementing strong 20mph and 30km/h policies can better protect the public in such a crisis.Read more
Far from having a “national” urban speed limit of 30mph, this has been rejected by local authorities for a quarter of the UK population. All but two Inner London Boroughs and over half of the UK’s largest urban authorities now have a 20mph limit for most roads. Rather than just “recommending” 20mph limits the government should set a national 20mph limit and permit local authorities to justify any higher limits.Read more
Healthy places was the theme of the 9th Annual 20mph Conference on 8th March in Birmingham. Making 20mph the normal speed limit goes beyond road safety to provide a better quality outdoor environment to built up areas. Calmer traffic means less risk and pollution. Numerous wellness benefits follow as populations of whole towns begin to slightly change their exercise, mental and physical habits due to living in a happier, safer, cleaner and quieter community.Read more
20mph limits tackle many public health issues including street safety, physical exercise, obesity, coronary heart disease and more. Public Health staff are strongly encouraged to attend the 20’s Plenty for Healthier Places Conference on Weds 8th March 2017. Health and slower speed experts will discuss best practice, innovation, research and cost effectiveness. 20mph limits are healthy and affordable. Councillors set local speedsRead more