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Residents petition Hertfordshire County Council to stop roll-out of 20mph zones

Almost 1,500 residents have signed a petition calling on Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) to stop the roll-out of 20mph zones.

According to the highways authority, the reduced speed limit can improve safety for all road users, create calmer streets and encourage more walking and cycling.

For the 2024-25 financial year from April 1, £2.3m has been earmarked in the budget as part of plans to spend £7m over three years.

20mph scheme. Picture: Ross Waldron
20mph scheme. Picture: Ross Waldron

John Dowdle launched an online petition against the proposals. Since it was launched on January 29 it has been signed by 1,473 people.

The ePetition on HCC’s website at www.hertfordshire.gov.uk – which expires on Monday (February 12) – highlights Hertfordshire’s “extremely serious” financial position and calls for the “wasteful” spending to be stopped immediately.

“The administration is squandering £2.3m for the roll-out of more 20mph zones in Hertfordshire, according to budget proposals for 2024-25,” says the petition. “Already this year (2023-24) the council has spent £3m on 20mph zones with plans to waste a further £1.7m next year (2025-26) too.

“All in all, the administration at County Hall is prepared to waste £7m in total on mad schemes that few – if any – Hertfordshire residents actually want. This wasteful spending must be stopped immediately.”

In response, a HCC spokesperson claimed that the majority of county residents backed 20mph zones.

“We know from a transport survey conducted for us last year by YouGov that almost two-thirds of our residents support the introduction of 20mph speed limits in residential areas and town centres,” they said.

“However, we think it’s important that we consult residents before reducing speed limits in an area, and clearly not all roads are suited to a 20mph speed limit.

“We will therefore only look to introduce a 20mph zone where there is clear local support and where we’re confident that changing the speed limit will make a real difference to traffic speeds.

“We’re targeting lower speed roads around places where people live, work, learn and shop – places where we want people to feel safe and comfortable in the street environment and encouraged to walk and cycle their journeys.

“When they are implemented in the right way, 20mph zones can have significant benefits for residents and road users, including improving safety and air quality, and reducing traffic noise.”

The county council will meet on Tuesday (Feb 13) to confirm its 2024-25 budget.

A petition has been launched for a 20mph limit in London Road in Bishop’s Stortford after a spate of accidents which residents attribute to speeding motorists. As of 12.45pm on Monday February 12 the Change.org petition has been signed by 523 people.

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