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£500,000 spent on Islington’s 20mph limit slammed as ‘waste of cash’ after speeds stay the same

17:34 05 August 2014

The 20mph speed limit has been branded a waste of cash

The 20mph speed limit has been branded a waste of cash

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

The £500,000 splashed on a borough-wide 20mph limit has been branded a waste of cash after research shows it hasn’t slowed drivers down.

New figures show average speeds on nearly 100 roads in Islington have remained the same since the limit was implemented by Islington Council last year.

Simon Briscoe, who made the Freedom of Information (FOI) request, thinks the half a million pounds spent advertising the new top speed was only good for making campaigners happy.

He said: “From what I have seen it makes no difference to speed and as far as I can tell no material difference to accidents.

“But then if speed isn’t changing that’s not surprising.

“If the public money only exists to make councillors feel good, generate income for sign makers and please campaigners then it’s money well spent.

“But if you want to reduce speed and make roads safer its a complete waste.”

Since the blanket 20mph restriction was introduced, average speeds on 156 of 158 roads surveyed by the council last autumn were above the limit.

While average speeds on 39 roads decreased by more than 2mph since 2011 and 2012, they increased at 24 locations. In 95 roads, speeds did not change by more than 2mph.

As revealed by a Gazette investigation last year, not a single ticket had been issued in the first year of the ban’s enforcement.

Mr Briscoe said; “I have an interest in road safety going back a decade or two.

“A lot of figures are based on statistics that are basically works of fiction.

“There has been an obsession among campaigners for years calling for 20mph limit and I always had a feeling this is not the most sensible thing to do.

“Now Islington have introduced it, we can get some actual evidence.”

Cllr Caroline Russell, Islington Council’s opposition Green Party member, said: “We fully support the move to 20mph, which we first proposed on the council.

She added: “We agree however that more should be being done to ensure speeds continue to drop across the Borough. Putting up 20mph signs is a good first step - but the Labour council is wrong if it thinks that is anywhere near enough.

“Many of our main roads still feel like race tracks, yet could be calmed simply and cheaply with a few additional crossing points, cycle lanes and carefully placed loading bays for shops.”

Cllr Claudia Webbe Islington Council’s executive member for environment and transport, said: “We are working with the police to implement the 20mph speed limit, which was introduced to make Islington’s roads safer for everyone.”

She added: “Getting the members of the public to comply with the changes will take time. The aim of the speed limit is to change drivers behaviour and educate them into slowing down to increase road safety.

“Other boroughs have seen the benefit of lower speeds and have followed in Islington’s footsteps.

“We hope that Transport For London (TFL) will also follow suit on their roads that pass through Islington and instate the 20mph speed limit as well.”

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