Campaigners continue fight for 20mph limits on county's roads

Traffic outside St Albans Museum + Gallery

Traffic outside St Albans Museum + Gallery - Credit: Supplied by 20's Plenty for St Albans

A group of St Albans speed limit campaigners have hailed Hertfordshire County Council's latest budget plans as "poor value" for tax payers.

The budget plan states that it will be providing £7 million investment to move forward roll-out of 20mph speed limits, in line with the Speed Management Strategy (SMS) approved in December.

Spokesperson for 20's Plenty for Hertfordshire Colin Hodges said: “Of course we welcome the recognition at Herts county council of the importance of providing more 20mph zones across the county and of earmarking funds to be able to do this.

"However we think that the county council's proposals do not give good value to the tax payer, which is particularly galling at a time when so many of us are struggling to make ends meet because of the pandemic.”

“The county council plans to spend £7 million over four years on piecemeal 20mph schemes dotted throughout the county, all enforced with engineered solutions like speed bumps.

READ MORE: Herts County Council to consider 20mph speed limit for roads in and around St Albans

“If, instead, the council opted for a non-engineered approach using signs, speed enforcement and driver education schemes, we estimate that for between £3.6 million and £6 million they could bring 20mph limits to every town and village street in Hertfordshire.

"That would mean that, for example, all children could make their journey to school in a safer, low speed environment, rather than just having a small 20mph zone around the school. Streets would be friendlier places, not dominated by speeding traffic, from which we would all benefit.

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"Instead, the county council is spending hard earned tax payer money on unpopular traffic calming schemes which bring no benefit to the majority of people in Hertfordshire.”

RELATED STORY: ‘20 is plenty’ says new St Albans speed reduction group

The county's speed limits are decided in accordance with the SMS that was adopted by the county council last month, and indicates that speed limits are set which are appropriate for the environment and usage of the road to and are generally self-enforcing.

The 20 mile per hour speed limit on Cravells Road, Harpenden. Picture: DANNY LOO

The 20 mile per hour speed limit on Cravells Road, Harpenden. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

20’s Plenty for Hertfordshire’s petition - which asked for the SMS to be amended to make the default speed limit on all residential and urban roads 20mph - attracted 647 signatures in a two week period, but their motion to the Highways and Environment cabinet was defeated by eight votes to five.

“We know that piecemeal 20mph zones with traffic calming measures are unpopular and expensive”, said 20’s Plenty campaigner Sue Nicholls.

“Speed bumps and other engineered solutions are, deservedly, unpopular and cost £15,000 per kilometre whereas our preferred option, signed limits, cost about £2,000 per kilometre. 

"We think that our option of changing the default limit for built up roads in Hertfordshire to 20mph would bring more clarity for drivers, more safety for vulnerable road users and better value for Hertfordshire tax payers."

To find out more about the 20's Plenty campaign in St Albans, visit their website.