Written by SAM WILLIAMS
Norwich Evening News 24
22 February 2008
Plans for a city-wide 20mph speed limit on residential roads have been made a priority for Norwich City Council for the coming year.
Councillors from all four political parties at City Hall unanimously backed the motion, raised as an amendment by Rupert Read, Green party councillor for Wensum ward, at the budget meeting earlier this week.
A feasibility study into the proposals are currently underway and while the findings will not be published until May the move has put the blanket limit as one of the council’s key aims for 2008/09.
Mr Read said the lower limit would improve safety and reduce pollution in the city.
He said: “When you have people on safe streets they are far more likely to walk or cycle on those streets. This is a consensual item across the chamber. The vast majority of us have thought for a long time the 20mph limit across the city should be put into place.
“I move that it should be put into place across all residential streets and that this should be a priority for the coming year.”
His comments were backed by the Labour administration.Brian Morrey, executive member for environmental impact and transport, said: “We have always campaigned for 20mph limits in residential areas and the feasibility study is still going on and we are waiting for the results.
“If we don’t have to drop anything else that’s more important it should be a priority for safety reasons. “In lots of housing estates people don’t travel more than 20mph anyway. I don’t see any need to travel more than 20mph in residential areas.”
But he said the final decision on speed limits would be made by the Norwich Highways Agency Committee (NHAC) – which is made up of representatives from the city and county councils.
Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat councillor for Eaton, and member of NHAC, said changing the limits would also save money by reducing the need for alternative traffic calming measures.
She said: “A 20mph limit will make huge savings because the council will not have to spend huge amounts on other measures like speed humps. One important thing is that it’s in this year’s service plans.”
Antony Little, leader of the Conservative group and Bowthorpe city councillor, also backed the move but said the lower limit would need to be properly enforced to succeed.
He added: “If it’s not enforced it’s not going to work so we need more consistent checking. It’s important it works in practice and not just on paper.”