Shropshire Council 'reviewing' its stance on 20mph speed limits
Shropshire Council is reviewing its approach towards 20mph speed limits but would need a “mandate” from residents before limits will be lowered in any areas, a councillor has said.
The authority has always maintained that it will implement 20mph zones where there is a strong case for them in specific locations, but has resisted pressure from the Shropshire '20’s Plenty' campaign group to adopt a blanket 20mph approach in built-up areas.
Now the issue has reared its head again in the wake of a 20mph default limit coming into effect across Wales last weekend, with campaigners urging the council to follow its neighbour’s lead.
The council says it believes there is no one-size-fits-all approach to where 20mph limits are appropriate, adding that in some areas they are “unnecessary” and deliver minimal benefits.
In a public question submitted to Shropshire Council’s highways portfolio holder Councillor Dan Morris, transport campaigner David Currant pointed out that town and parish councils including Shrewsbury, Shifnal, Oswestry, Ludlow, Bridgnorth, Cleobury Mortimer, Bishop’s Castle, Broseley, Ruyton XI Town, Much Wenlock and Bayston Hill had expressed support for a 20mph limit.
Mr Currant said the new policy over the border was based on evidence and advice from public health organisations in the UK as well as the World Health Organization (WHO).
Countless other local authorities across the country – with a total population of around 20 million – have also adopted a similar approach, he added.
Mr Currant asked: “When will Shropshire Council accept public health advice and implement a default 20mph speed limit on residential roads and streets throughout the county of Shropshire?”
In response, Councillor Morris reiterated the council’s stance was based on current guidance from the Department for Transport (DfT).
On this basis, he said, 20mph limits are considered outside schools or where there are high numbers of vulnerable road users, in town centres and pedestrian-dominated areas, and in residential areas where the characteristics of the street are suitable and “wide community support can be demonstrated”.
Councillor Morris said: “The current approach recognises that there is no single generic approach for the introduction of a mandatory 20mph speed restriction, and that site-specific characteristics determine the level of intervention that may be required and the degree of benefit that may be achieved.
“In some circumstances, an intervention may require physical traffic calming to slow vehicle speeds, and in others, highway conditions may suggest that a 20mph speed restriction is unnecessary and would deliver minimal benefits to the current situation.
“In September 2020, Shropshire Council approved the development of a county-wide programme for introducing 20mph speed restrictions outside schools, where existing highway conditions suggest it would be appropriate to so. This is now in delivery.
“That notwithstanding, further proposals around a wider 20mph approach are due to be reviewed by members in due course.
“Best practice from neighbouring authorities and national policy leaders is currently being assessed with a view to potentially revising the current council 20mph policy position, and delivery of future schemes, where there is a mandate and a demonstrable benefit to communities.”