Jackie Hook

Liberal Democrat County Councillor Newton Abbot North, District Councillor Bushell Ward Learn more

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Newton Abbot Pilot 20mph Update

by Jackie Hook on 27 April, 2021

 More information and consultation soon.

As I have been out and about delivering leaflets for our excellent Lib Dem County Council candidate, Eloise Rokirilov, one of the most common topics residents have raised with me has been the 20mph pilot. “ When are we getting it?” “We need it”

It’s great to see the level of support the pilot 20mph project has, but sad to hear the tales of excessive speed that are recounted to me by those I meet. It is clear that many people want the pilot to start, and thankfully I can report that the pilot project work has been continuing throughout the last year, and more information and consultation on the detail will be out this Summer.

There have been some delays, one due to reallocation of County staff to other duties due to covid, and the other due to the need to compile initial speed data, in normal traffic situations. During lockdowns the traffic hasn’t been representative of normal circumstances, so it hasn’t been possible to collect reliable data to use as a comparison.

In reality, we may never go back to previous traffic levels, hopefully we won’t, so data collection will now begin.

The pilot 20mph project, came about as a result of a Task Group set up at County in response to a significant number of complaints about speeding county-wide. I chaired the Task Group and the final report was produced and approved by DCC Cabinet in June 2019. The Task Group included representatives from the Police and Public Health and interviewed a wide range of interested groups and individuals, as well as Town and Parish Councils across Devon.

https://democracy.devon.gov.uk/documents/s26516/Traffic%20Speed%20Scrutiny%20Task%20Group.pdf.

The Traffic Speeds Task Group Report is in link below.

file://ds2chl329.ds2.devon.gov.uk/User$/Jackie.Hook/Documents/Traffic%20Speed%20Scrutiny%20Task%20Group%20JUNE%202019.pdf

Newton Abbot Town Council expressed their support for the pilot 20 mph project at their Full Council meeting on 26th February 2020, resolving “that the Town Council supported in principle the proposed 20 mph speed restrictions for residential areas in Newton Abbot; subject to the opportunity to discuss with Devon County Council in more detail” 

Teignbridge District Council Executive gave preliminary support to the pilot 20mph speed limit in October 2020

The intended implementation timeline is for traffic data collection and surveys, and initial consultation and promotion to take place in the Summer of 2021, with formal advertising of the trial taking place late 2021.  It should be emphasised however, that the 20mph pilot will only happen if the public supports it – this a community driven pilot scheme and the next step will be determined by the level of public support. That is why DCC will hold a public consultation and road safety officers and councillors are working closely with Public Health, the Police Road Casualty Reduction and Traffic Management Team, Newton Abbot Town Council and Teignbridge District Council to ensure the pilot is the right one.

The first step would be to ask Newton Abbot businesses, residents, civic leaders, schools, organisations, emergency services, and road users if they support the plans. A public consultation will be launched this Summer. The pilot scheme will hopefully be implemented in early 2022.

The public consultation will ask residents which roads they would like to be included in the pilot. We need people’s views to identify the extent of the scheme area. The initial guiding principle is that existing 30 mph speed limits will be reduced to 20 mph unless there is a good reason not to. However, the pilot scheme also gives us the opportunity to take a fresh look at speed limits across the town to address specific issues and concerns. It is hoped to include as many roads as possible as we believe everyone has the right to live and travel on a safe road network.

Why a 20mph pilot?

Many people from communities across Devon have expressed their concern either about excessive speeds in communities or the perception of excessive speeds. This is the first step in drawing up a new approach which could eventually be applied to communities across Devon.

Experience from across the country demonstrates 20 mph speed limits in urban areas can make the roads safer, particularly for children and older people, and allows more people to walk or cycle. Creating a safer environment has in many cases enabled people to get out and about more, visiting local shops, taking exercise, or simply meeting friends outside. Traffic congestion can be reduced because people feel safe enough to walk or cycle instead of driving. This can reduce pollution.

Lower traffic speeds can therefore improve health and the environment and make towns more pleasant places to live and work. And all we need to do is drive a little more slowly.

There is evidence that slower speeds can improve traffic flow and reduce congestion by enabling drivers to drive at a more constant speed instead of stop starting. Traffic volume can be lower as more people leave the car at home and walk or cycle on short trips because the roads feel safer.

Slower speeds can improve health by reducing emissions and improving air quality. It has been proven to reduce the number and severity of injuries from collisions, particularly for pedestrians or cyclists and the young or elderly.

Schemes elsewhere have shown that making town centres feel safer can attract more visitors, making the area more vibrant, which boosts the local economy. 

All these benefits can be achieved from us all driving a little bit more slowly!!

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