Posted: 15.10.20 at 14:43 by The Editor
Peninsula councillors have backed calls residential streets in Suffolk’s towns and villages to have a 20mph speed limit across the board, as a means of improving air quality.
Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent group at Suffolk County Council has put forward a motion for 20mph to be the default speed limit, with 30mph to be used only in “exceptional circumstances”.
Group councillors claim it will not only improve road safety, but also improve air quality.
Jane Gould, Orwell ward councillor and Green party member, said: "I agree with this motion; if we reduce the speed limit through our villages to 20mph it will improve air quality, make cycling and walking safer and reduce accidents.
"All the villages in my ward have busy roads running through them and speeding is a constant item on parish council agendas, I would welcome the reduced speed limit."
Alastair McCraw, Brantham ward member and a committed cyclist, believes motorists should abide by existing speed limits but can see the benefit of a 20s plenty style restriction in certain areas.
Cllr McCraw said: "it’s definitely an idea for residential streets and would support that. I suspect it’s not legally possible on A or B class roads, but there I’d just be happier if the existing 30mph limits were observed and actually enforced.:
The motion will be discussed at the authority’s full council meeting on October 22.
Green councillor Robert Lindsay, who put forward the motion, said: “We want to make Suffolk’s roads safer for pedestrians, drivers and cyclists alike.
“Implementing a default lower speed limit in residential areas will not only save lives, it will improve lives. Lower speed limits mean smoother traffic flow, with less congestion and lower toxic emissions.
“Air quality will be better, and older people and children will be able to walk through their own village or neighbourhood without being intimidated by traffic.”
Currently, most residential roads have a 30mph speed limit, but where there are fears over road safety 20mph speed limits can be requested – particularly outside schools.
But Mr Lindsay said it was a piecemeal approach, and having 20mph across the board would be more cost effective too.
He added: “Communities are required to jump through all sorts of hoops [to get 20mph limits], and the process is very time consuming and expensive, both for town and parishes and the county council itself.”
Suffolk County Council’s Conservative cabinet member for highways Andrew Reid, said: “As the council papers have not actually been published yet, I have not seen the exact wording of the motion being put forward by the Liberal Democrat, Green and Independent Group.
“I look forward to hearing more as part of the debate we will have on this next week when I will be in a position to offer a conclusive view.”
The council has had a particular focus on providing stronger cycling routes in the likes of Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds in recent weeks, while £235,000 has been set aside to designate more quiet lanes in the county where motorists must take additional precautions.