Issue - meetings

Review of 20mph Speed Limit Policy

Meeting: 26/07/2023 - Transport, Economy, Environment and Enterprise Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 5)

5 Call in of the Executive decision - Review of 20mph Speed Limit and Zone Policy pdf icon PDF 489 KB

Additional documents:


Considered:  A report of the Assistant Chief Executive, Legal and Democratic Services, seeking a decision on whether to refer the Executive decision of 4 July 2023 back to the Executive; to refer it to Full Council; or to take no further action.


The Chair invited Cllr Andy Brown, as signatory of the Call-In notice, to summarise their arguments.  Cllr Brown thanked members for attending the meeting, and delivered a presentation, the main points of which were:


·         The signatories were concerned about the impact of excessive speed in residential areas, citing recent examples of fatalities and serious injuries in their divisions.


·         It was felt that insufficient weight had been given to the evidence regarding the effectiveness of such speed management schemes (SMSs), and that widespread non-compliance had been assumed without adequate evidence.


·         Examples of successful default 20mph schemes in Cornwall and Edinburgh were cited.


·         Signatories felt that insufficient weight had been given to the ameliorating effect such schemes would have on pressures in local A&E departments, to the climate change benefits, and the positive health effects from improvements in air quality.


·         The consultation was felt to be inadequate, with members reporting some areas which believed their views had not been considered.  Examples were cited of Parish and Town Councils which had found it difficult to engage with the Highways Agency.


·         Cllr Brown suggested an alternative option, where a coalition of the willing be set up to deliver schemes quickly where local support was strong, scoping and costing applications promptly rather than a lengthy pipeline approach, dealing with each application in turn.


The Chair invited Allan McVeigh to respond.  The main points of the response were as follows:


·         The positive benefits of SMSs were not in dispute, and the scheme approved by the Executive explicitly recognised the health, climate change and safety benefits highlighted by the signatories. 


·         The default application of 20mph zones was seen as potentially damaging, introducing them to communities which did not want them, or were which not suitable. 


·         It was emphasised that the proposed SMS would lead to more 20mph zones in the county, not fewer.


·         Evidence was cited which suggested signed-only schemes, without physical measures, only resulted in a very modest speed reduction of 1-2mph.


·         The consultation was highlighted, which had sought the views of all 90 members.  Examples were cited of areas which had requested a 20mph zone and which had been accepted, showing that where appropriate these would be introduced.


The Chair invited the Executive Member for Highways and Transportation to respond, and the points raised are summarised below:


·         The Executive had worked closely with officers to develop a robust and evidence-based approach that would be suitable for local communities across the counties.


·         The alternative scheme proposed by the signatories, which sought implementation of SMSs where local support existed, was in fact close to the approach set out in the policy, working proactively with communities and responding where a clear need for 20mph schemes existed.  The issues extended beyond a simple default 20mph  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5

Meeting: 04/07/2023 - Executive (Item 273)

273 Review of 20mph Speed Limit Policy pdf icon PDF 858 KB

Recommendations – That the Executive approve

i.    That the core criteria for introducing 20mph speed limits and zones, as set out in the existing 20mph Speed Limit Policy should remain unchanged;

ii.   That area-wide or default 20mph speed limits are not supported;

iii.  To undertake a series of planned reviews, which are underpinned by a speed management strategy for the local road network, delivered over a defined period and which will generate a pipeline of schemes; and

iv.  To delegate to the Corporate Director for Environment and the Executive Member for Highways and Transportation, approval of the:

a.    Content and detail of the proposed speed management strategy; and

b.    Prioritisation methodology for ranking proposed speed limit schemes.


Considered – A report of the Corporate Director for Environment seeking Executive approval for the development of a North Yorkshire speed management strategy and countywide programme of speed limit reviews, in order to generate a pipeline of schemes, to be delivered over a number of years.


Councillor Keane Duncan introduced the report confirming the Council’s proposed new approach to managing speed limits across the county, which included a new speed management strategy and a county-wide review of speed limits.  He noted it would produce a rolling pipeline of speed improvement schemes for delivery, with local communities and local Councillors involved from the outset. He acknowledged it was an ambitious pro-active approach build on evidence and community empowerment.  He suggested the proposal took account of the diverse nature of North Yorkshire’s communities, and drew attention to the consultation undertaken with councillors, with most supporting lower speed limits around schools and other high footfall areas.  Whilst he recognised the value that speed limits and 20mph zones had in terms of road safety, he noted the concern expressed about a default 20mph limit in every town and village and highlighted that those who were in favour of it were not in agreement on where it should be applied. 


It was noted that five public submissions had been received, as follows:


1. Hazel Peacock

“My name is Hazel Peacock. I am from the Oatlands road safety and active travel campaign, and I am here today to ask a question about our petition “for North Yorkshire Council to deliver a maximum speed of 20mph across south and west Harrogate – covering Oatlands and parts of Pannal, the Stray, Hookstone and St George’s areas in Harrogate”, which had 924 signatures at the time of submission (and now has 982) and was endorsed by the Area Constituency Committee of Harrogate and Knaresborough on 8th June.


Over 4,000 children walk, cycle and travel by car and bus to schools in the area every school day and the implementation of a maximum speed (in the area proposed), is urgently needed for the safety, health and well-being of children and the wider community, for better road safety and to facilitate active travel.


In October 2022, the Harrogate and Knaresborough Area Constituency Committee resolved for the Executive to be advised of the wish for a 20mph speed limit to be piloted throughout towns and villages in the constituency area, where a need had been identified. Since then two serious collisions involving three children have occurred in our community (three weeks apart), one on the pavement outside Ashville College on Yew Tree Lane in February with devastating effects and another outside Oatlands Junior School, also on the pavement, in January. These awful events coupled with the overwhelming evidence of the benefits of 20mph limits demonstrate why change is urgently needed.


We know from evidence shared by Brake the road safety charity that “The higher the speed a vehicle travels the greater likelihood of a serious injury or death if there is a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 273