Council under fire as £233k spent on four speed humps in Shrewsbury

Shropshire Council has come under fire from road safety campaigners for spending £233,016 on four new speed humps in Shrewsbury while “neglecting” the rest of the county.

Shoplatch in Shrewsbury pictured at the start of lockdown one in 2020 before the work was carried out
Shoplatch in Shrewsbury pictured at the start of lockdown one in 2020 before the work was carried out

The work was carried out around Roushill, Shoplatch, Mardol and Bellstone earlier this year as part of the Shrewsbury Integrated Transport Package, to help enforce a new 20mph speed limit in the town centre.

The cost has now been revealed following a Freedom of Information request by Professor John Whitelegg from the Shropshire-wide 20’s Plenty campaign, which is pushing for a blanket 20mph limit to be introduced in all built-up areas across the county.

Prof Whitelegg, an expert in sustainable transport, says the cost of the initiative would be £1.3 million, representing much better value for money for the council as well as reducing the number of road casualties.

He said: “My interest in the £233,016 figure is that it is not evidence-based and one of the arguments put to me when I discuss 20mph is that it would be too costly.

“It is in fact very cheap and the impact of 20mph on every residential street in Shropshire in line with World Health Organisation advice would be huge and much greater than can be achieved by humps and bumps.”

Police records show there were 467 road collisions in Shropshire in 2019, resulting in 706 casualties. Of these, 196 casualties were on 30mph roads.

According to the national 20's Plenty campaign, implementing a 20mph policy in Shropshire would lead to a reduction of 31 casualties a year – resulting in an annual saving for the authorities of around £2 million.

Prof Whitelegg said: “This is a no-brainer. We need wide-area, default 20mph limits on every road and street where pedestrians, bikes and vehicles can mix.”

The Shropshire 20’s Plenty group has contacted all town councils in the county and asked them to consider asking Shropshire Council for a 20mph default limit in their towns.

So far Shrewsbury, Bridgnorth, Shifnal, Oswestry, Ludlow, Cleobury Mortimer, Bishop’s Castle and Broseley town councils have supported the move.

The campaign has also been backed by the local Green Party. Hilary Wendt, co-ordinator of South Shropshire Green Party said: “It is not acceptable to spend £233,000 on four humps in Shrewsbury and neglect the vast majority of Shropshire’s 350,000 residents.

“We have been asking for county-wide 20mph on residential streets since 2015 and the council has ignored the request.

“Eight town councils have asked for 20mph on residential streets and the council has ignored the requests.

“We can have 20mph on the majority of streets in the county for £1.3 million and this is already in place for the whole of Herefordshire and Wales but not in Shropshire.”

Steve Charmley, the council's cabinet member for highways, said: “Shropshire Council receives a limited budget from the Department for Transport to assist in making the county’s roads as safe as possible within the funding available.

“We seek to target this funding to those areas where the most accidents are currently occurring.

“Our records show that the majority of the most severe accidents tend to occur on roads linking towns, with only a few locations in the towns themselves being of significant concern.

“We therefore feel that this targeted approach enables a more significant reduction in accidents occurring, allowing more people to reach their destinations safely.”

Councillor Charmley also highlighted the council’s ongoing programme of implementing 20mph limits and other safety measures outside schools.

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