After a new report that there was a 50% rise in people 'Killed or Seriously Injured' in Maidstone in 2011, local Greens have challenged the new Police and Crime Commissioner to make good on her promise to back 20mph limits where there is public support.
In a letter to Ms Barnes, the Greens spell out the case for making Maidstone a 20mph limit town. The letter follows a long campaign by Kent Greens for 20mph limits where people live, a campaign that has so far been blocked by Kent Police and Kent County Council.
Stuart Jeffery, Kent Green Party: "With a 50% increase in people killed or seriously injured on Maidstone's roads last year, it is time for Ann Barnes to make good on her promise to back 20mph limits where people live.
"Default 20mph limits are the norm in Western Europe, and in the UK 8 million people live in areas that are committed to them. 20mph limits reduce accidents, reduce pollution and reduce congestion, and they have overwhelming public support.
"The case has been made for 20mph limits. There is no reason for Kent Police to not back them."
1. https://shareweb.kent.gov.uk/Documents/roads-and-transport/road-safety/Review%20of%20personal%20injury%20crashes%20occurring%20on%20Kent%20%20Roads%20i.pdf - see page 22
2. Ann Barnes
3. Text of letter:
Congratulations on your election. During your election you tweeted your support for 20mph limits where there is public support. This is a welcome shift for Kent Police who have previously blocked 20mph limits. I am therefore seeking your support to help make Maidstone a 20mph town.
In Maidstone there was a 10% increase in accidents 2011 involving cars compared to 2010. This was 412 accidents too many. There were 24 accidents where people were killed or seriously injured, up 50% on the year below – 24 too many. Across Kent there was no improvement in the KSI numbers. This is unacceptable and represents an appalling public health disaster.
20mph towns are normal in much of Western Europe and increasingly in the UK. Over 8 million people live in places committed to 20mph limits including York, Liverpool, Islington, Bath, Newcastle, Oxford and Lancashire.
The benefits of 20mph limits include fewer crashes and severe injuries. On average 20% fewer casualties. Slower speeds are the basis for active travel. Bristol found walking and cycling increased by 20% and that for every pound spent, the health benefit from more walking was £24. Exercise lowers obesity, heart disease and stress. 20mph limits save 12% of fuel lessening climate change emissions. They smooth traffic and cut urban congestion making roads more efficient. Journey trip times unaffected. Noise is 40% less. It’s hard to find anyone living in a 20mph street who wants it back at 30. Light touch policing can enforce limits.
Our surveys and petitions show massive public support for 20mph limits. Our survey a couple of years ago put support at 80%. Nationally, 73% favoured 20mph residential limits in the British Social Attitudes Survey 2011, only 11% were against.
You can have a policy that has overwhelming support, saves lives, reduces congestion and reduced emissions. Please work with me to convince councillors on Kent County Council to make Maidstone’s streets 20mph where people live.
Stuart Jeffery Maidstone Green Party
cc. Cllr Chris Garland, Leader Maidstone Borough Council
Cllr Bryan Sweetland,Cabinet Member for Transport, Kent County Council
Meradin Peachey, Director of Public Health, Kent County Council