Agenda item

Public Questions or Statements

Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have given notice and provided the text to Melanie Carr of Democratic Services (contact details below) no later than midday on Tuesday 22 June 2021. Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item.  Members of the public who have given notice will be invited to speak:

·           at this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);

·           when the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting.


If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chairman who will instruct those taking a recording to cease whilst you speak.


A registration to speak at the meeting was received from Mr Ian Conlon.  Mr Conlon attended the meeting to read out the following statement/question:


"I welcome our new Police Fire and Crime Commissioner Philip Allott's support for default 20mph speed limits in our towns and villages. This is also government policy, and I have had support from our MP for local implementation of this. Surveys repeatedly show that such Area wide default 20mph speed limits become more popular once implemented, with support rising from 70% to 90% once implemented. The evidence is clear from both rural and urban counties that this does lead to reductions of accidents, and that the costs of implementing area wide speed limit changes without any new speed bumps, i.e. changing and adding the speed limit signs, pay back in 8 months in costs saved from the reductions in accidents, according to 20s plenty cost calculator based on Department for Transport figures. There is no evidence of increased aggressive behaviour as a result of the changes elsewhere, certainly not that leads to any increase in accidents or decrease in feelings in safety: quite the opposite in fact: children are more likely to be allowed to play outside in the street unsupervised, children walk and cycle to school more, cycling in the upper primary age in particular shows a huge increase, and this neatly ties in with LEP ambition to increase cycling rates by 9-fold. Combine this with a higher priority and support for dedicated cycle routes, and selective closure of routes, part-time or full time,  to through motor traffic such as Castlegate in the AQMA in Malton, and the health and quality of life benefits, in a district that has disgraceful obesity levels, are obvious. Average journey times in areas that have implemented area wide 20mph are 1 minute longer. I must remind members that, rural though our constituency is, most people live in a town or village that would welcome traffic travelling at speeds that are not as likely as not lethal on impact. 30mph is NOT a safe speed to be hit at, and has a high fatality rate, pedestrians are rarely killed at 20mph. And its not just children: the more frail elderly and other vulnerable people are disproportionately excluded from our public space and healthy exercise by lethal speeds in their own communities. I am please to be part of a new Community Speedwatch group, but I would much rather all our locations in Malton and Norton were 20mph, so all communities benefit from traffic travelling at safer speeds. My question is simple: Will each councillor here pledge to support a 20mph default speed area limit in North Yorkshire's towns and villages as a matter of urgency?"


In response, Andrew Santon – NYCC Highways Customer Communications Officer confirmed a relatively recent review of the existing 20mph speed limit policy had been carried out by the County Council’s Transport, Economy and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee, with input from NYCC Traffic Engineering, Road Safety and Public Health officers, along with representation from North Yorkshire police and the ‘20’s Plenty’ Campaign Group.


The review was substantially in response to a national research project which evaluated the performance of 20mph speed limits and the need to update the County Council’s policy. As a result of that review, the task group had determined that it was not appropriate to apply a countywide default 20mph speed limit in all residential roads and similar, but did make a series of recommendations in its report (approved by The Executive), concerning the future application of 20mph speed limits and zones, to facilitate more schemes being introduced.


He confirmed:

·          It was still necessary to carry out a robust assessment when determining the need for and extent of any 20mph speed limit or zone as it must be appropriate for that part of the network and fitting with its current operation.

·          The County Council was substantially guided by the Department for Transport document 01/13 Setting Local Speed Limits, which provided advice to Local Authorities on the appropriate assessment and application. Given the thorough nature of that document, there was no reason to deviate significantly from it and the revised policy would be based on that advice whilst incorporating, where possible, the report recommendations.

·          Applying a speed limit to a road(s) that drivers consider inappropriate, would highly likely result in it being disregarded and the cause of enforcement problems and complaints. Furthermore, it may consequently result in drivers failing to comply with a lower speed limit where it had been appropriately applied and was essential to do so.

·          Where mean speeds were in excess of 24mph it was necessary to introduce physical traffic calming measures to forcibly reduce speed. Such measures were designed to be negotiated by travelling along that road(s) at a consistent speed, but in reality, driver behaviour was often to speed up and slow down which resulted in greater emissions and noise, generally negating any actual or perceived benefit.

·          Effectively 20mph speed limits or zones must be self-enforcing, either by existing behaviour or through physical measures.

·          Introducing a countywide 20mph speed limit or zones would also require significant financial and resource input as well as future maintenance costs, which is broadly prohibitive. 

·          As part of any speed limit change or review, the County Council always consulted with North Yorkshire Police to seek their support, on the basis they are the enforcing authority - He confirmed that North Yorkshire Police did not support the countywide default application of 20mph speed limits. 

·          A major consideration when assessing the need for a 20mph speed limit or zone was the collision record for that part(s) of the network. The Traffic Engineering and Road Safety teams carried out annual and in year assessments of collision data to identify high risk sites and routes. This information included the main causation type e.g. speed, failure to look etc. as well as the road user type. Such data was used to inform the task group review and data from that time indicated that, in total across the three year reporting period, there were 59 injury collisions in areas with a 20mph speed limit. Of those 59 collisions, eight had been associated with careless/reckless driving or in a hurry and two were recorded as exceeding the speed limit being the main contributory factor to the collision. Therefore 10 out of 59 collisions resulting in injury were possibly speed-related. In total across the same three year reporting period, areas with a 30mph speed limit there were 1626 collisions. Police records showed that of those, 70 were attributed to speed (just over 4% of the total), averaging out at 23 per year. Therefore it could be concluded that the need for default 20mph speed limit is not justified through there being a collision problem associated with 30mph speed limits.


He went on to confirm that the benefits of lower speed limits, were absolutely accepted and the County Council was actively working to encourage and facilitate modal shift from cars to other sustainable and healthy travel choices, such as cycling and walking. Having a safe highway environment to support that was fully understood and supported. However, the County Council as Local Highway Authority also had a statutory duty to manage its highway as set out in the various Traffic Management and Highways Acts, and applying inappropriate speed limits, could be the cause of congestion and delay, which it was required to reduce.


He noted that although the policy position was not to apply a countywide 20mph limit, he assured Mr Conlan that the county council was fully committed to its road safety and traffic management duties and continuously monitored collisions data to ensure it was able to react accordingly. To that end, he confirmed that a draft 20mph Policy would hopefully be completed in the next couple of months for consultation with elected members and officers, prior to seeking Executive approval to formally adopt it.


County Councillor Lindsay Burr confirmed there was currently a campaign underway in Malton for a 20mph speed limit around its schools, with parents being canvassed for their views.  She suggested that the NYCC’s policy should be re-considered in regard to having a 20mph speed limit around all schools across the county.


Other Committee Members agreed that a countywide approach was not the way forward as it had the potential to create associated problems in individual areas, but rather each school environment should be considered on its own merit as and when an ongoing problem was reported.



Attention was again drawn to the recent scrutiny review carried out by the Transport, Economy & Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee, which concluded having carried out a very thorough review, that a blanket approach was not the best way forward.  They did however make a number of recommendations for changes to the policy, which were subsequently approved.  In light of that, members of the Committee expressed their confidence that the issue had been properly reviewed, including taking account of the views of a range of interested parties, and experts in the field.


In addition, it was noted North Yorkshire Police had in the past confirmed they would not enforce any 20mph speed limits, and that they would have to be designed out by the County Council.


The Chair thanked Mr Conlan for his contribution.