Richmond Council to back plans for 20mph speed limit in the borough

Richmond Council plans to improve the borough’s road safety and reduce air pollution by implementing a 20mph speed limit scheme.

Richmond’s Lib Dem council announced its plan following a 12-week public consultation held last year involving roughly 10,000 respondents. While 47.9% voted in favour of the proposal and 49.7% voted against, 52% of respondents did agree a 20mph limit should reduce the number and severity of road accidents.

The council’s initial proposal suggested a borough-wide 20mph limit, but following the consultation this has been amended to exclude certain through roads including the A308 between Kingston and Hampton.

Councillor Alexander Ehmann, Cabinet Member for Transport, Streetscene and Air Quality, said: “The council’s new proposal establishes a better balance that reflects the representations we received though a vibrant consultation process.”

The amendments are supported by the Teddington Society Roads and Transport Group (TSRTG) who opposed a borough-wide 20mph limit due to concerns about worsening air pollution.

TSRTG convenor Brian Holder said: “We’re totally happy for all our side roads to be made 20mph. Our concern was that if all the through-roads were included, vehicles travelling at 20mph actually use more fuel and cause more emissions than cars travelling at 30mph in third gear.”

The proposal must still pass a two-stage approval process by the council’s Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet, but a spokesperson from Richmond Council said they expect to see a roll-out of the scheme on Kew Roads later this year.

If the council’s scheme is approved, an air quality survey will be carried out around the designated roads before and after the 20mph restrictions, which Mr Holder said was necessary to determine the scheme’s environmental impact.

Green Party Councillor for Ham, Petersham & Richmond Riverside, Andree Frieze, said that the new limit would not only increase road safety, but would also improve air quality by encouraging people to use alternative means of transport.

Ms Frieze said: “We are in the middle of an obesity crisis and the introduction of the new speed limit will hopefully encourage people to get out of their cars and walk, cycle or take the bus to work. All of these methods not only improve public health but reduce the environmental impact of people driving everywhere.”

The new speed limit also aims to improve road safety and is supported by campaign group 20’s Plenty for Richmond who have campaigned for 20mph since 2013.

The scheme’s increased road safety goal is supported by a 2009 TFL-commissioned study which showed a 40% casualty reduction on roads which decreased their speed limits to 20mph through traffic calming.

Richmond’s Scrutiny Committee meeting on the 20mph proposal is scheduled for the 25th February.

Feature image courtesy of Ian Britton, via Flickr, with thanks

This article was amended on February 19.

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