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An 'unrivalled opportunity'

Forest of Dean Council Leader, Mark Topping wrote recently to the Rt Hon Mark Harper, MP, the Secretary of State for Transport. Mr Harper asked for evidence and this is what he received:

Dear Mark,


At our meeting on February 2nd you asked me to send you evidence that wide area 20mph limits are effective.

That evidence is now widespread. Some recent examples include London, where TfL has reported significant road safety improvements since the introduction of 20mph.

In Edinburgh, where casualties have fallen by a third since 20mph limits were introduced on most roads across the city.

And most recently in Wales, where the Welsh Government is reporting a 4mph reduction on faster roads since the introduction of 20mph limit. This is expected to translate to a 24% reduction in collisions. ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) says there is a 6% reduction in collisions for every 1mph reduction in traffic speed.


At our meeting you referred to DfT research indicating that 20mph was ineffective in improving road safety and didn’t have popular support. I can only think that you were referring to the WS Atkins report from 2019.

This study in fact shows clear support for 20mph.  It is in line with all other research, including the DfT’s own National Travel Attitudes survey, which says that 2 out of 3 people support 20mph.

The report did not say that 20mph didn’t work.  Rather, it was inconclusive about the impact of 20mph on casualties and on speeds, for two main reasons:


1.     The roads studied were already low speed, covered only small areas and already had few casualties – no change would have been expected

2.     The schemes were all built over a decade ago.  More recent schemes show that speeds drop by much more, particularly on previously faster roads (up to 6 or 7 mph)

As Transport Minister you have an unrivalled opportunity to make a really significant and positive impact on the lives of so many people in the country. I urge you to take it.


Mark Topping

Leader of Forest of Dean District Council

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1 Kommentar

Richard Burton
Richard Burton
14. März

Excellent letter. The government decided to investigate whether Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (basically 20mph zones with limited access) worked and whether they were popular, and they do work and they are popular, but the government hasn't released the report: it has been leaked.

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