The campaign for 20 mph limits on residential roads in Worthing

No additional speed humps or cameras, just the people of Worthing agreeing to make their town a safer, more pleasant place for everyone.

Latest Campaign Status – Consultation results published.

20’s Plenty for Worthing’s press release:

Worthing’s 20 mph consultation – a flawed process and an unjust result

The residents of Worthing stand to lose the chance for safer and more pleasant residential streets due to scaremongering, threats of bus cuts and the failure of the council to properly explain the benefits and cost effectiveness of 20 mph limits.

20’s Plenty for Worthing is saddened to hear that 69% of consultation responses were against 20 mph for Worthing’s residential streets. Door to door surveys prior to the consultation had shown strong support in Worthing, similar to other areas. Chichester’s 20 mph consultation result was 77% in favour, and this was typical of other consultations up and down the country.

No other public consultation on 20 mph limits anywhere in the UK has returned such a negative result as Worthing’s so how did this happen?

The analysis contained in West Sussex County Council’s report shows almost all the negative comments and feedback relate directly to the:
- Scaremongering and false claims of the 20’s Pointless group (in their well funded advertisements which the Advertising Standards Authority subsequently requested were withdrawn).
- Threats of cuts to bus services made by Compass Travel (but never justified).

It has also come to light that, contrary to the rules of the consultation, the 20’s Pointless group and Worthing & Adur Chamber of Commerce were distributing consultation forms to opponents of the scheme by email and through their website.

West Sussex County Council (WSCC) failed in their duties when developing the consultation:
- WSCC agreed to 20’s Pointless’ demand that no information on the benefits of 20 mph schemes should be provided in the consultation packs, contrary to best practice and other 20 mph consultations in the UK.
- Children, young people, minority groups and those with disabilities were not represented on the consultation steering group.
- WSCC openly admitted the needs of vulnerable people were not taken into account.

Yet despite our calls, councillors have so far refused to investigate the influence of the opposition tactics, or the other failings in the process, on the results.

Worthing continues to have the highest levels of injuries to pedestrians and cyclists of anywhere in West Sussex. Road safety organisations (including BRAKE, RoadPeace, RoSPA), walking and cycling organisations (including British Cycling, Sustrans, the CTC, Living Streets etc.) and public health organisations all support 20 mph due to the overwhelming evidence.

If Councillors choose to ignore this evidence in favour of 20 mph and instead endorse driving at 30 mph on our residential streets then it is the young, the elderly, those with disabilities and vulnerable road users who will be worst affected.

Councillors have a moral and legal duty to ensure that the needs of all these people are taken into account and that they are not put at an unfair disadvantage.

To cancel plans for a 20 mph scheme based on the results of this flawed consultation would be an injustice.

See report here

Why reduce speeds in residential roads?

Research shows that reducing traffic speeds to 20mph is one of the most effective ways of making our roads safer for children, older people, those with disabilities, pedestrians and cyclists.
Worthing has the highest rate of serious injuries to pedestrians and cyclists in the whole of West Sussex

Which roads would be included?

The proposal (from West Sussex County Council) is not a ‘blanket’ limit. Most residential roads are included, and main roads and ‘distributor roads’ likely to be excluded.
View the proposed map

Do people really mind about traffic speeds on their roads?

YES! Many Worthing residents have got in touch with the campaign complaining about the speed that some people drive down their roads. Children and adults have been hit or had near misses, pets have been run over, parked cars and property has been damaged and the noise of speeding traffic can disturb sleep.
See here for the list of roads where residents have complained

How much would it cost and where will the money come from?

WSCC estimate the cost would be £350,000. This money would not come from taxes, but from ‘Transport Section 106 funds’. This is money paid by property developers to the council when they are given planning permission for new developments in Worthing. This money is supposed to be used to help minimise the additional traffic caused by new developments. Typically it is used for walking, cycling and road safety projects and cannot be used for public services, such as libraries, education or bus subsidies.

Importantly the scheme offers excellent value for money. Road deaths and injuries in Worthing currently cost over £15 million every year according to the Department for Transport. If the scheme results in just a 3% reduction in these costs it would have paid for itself in one year.

Find out more about the cost and that there are non-taxpayer funds available

Why not just enforce the 30 mph limits?

If a pedestrian is hit at 30 mph they are seven times more likely to die than at 20 mph. If they are aged over 60, they have just a 50% chance of survival. By comparison, at 20 mph you have a 99% chance of survival. Not only that but your stopping distance at 30 mph is almost double that of 20 mph, so you are far less likely to be able to avoid a collision in the first place. In addition, recent research has shown that children cannot accurately judge vehicle speeds above 20 mph. 20 mph is the right speed for streets where people and cars mix.
Three reasons why not to just enforce 30 mph

Won’t drivers just ignore 20 mph limits?

No. Reducing limits to 20 mph results in reduced average speeds. Every one mile per hour reduction results in a six percent reduction in collisions. When Portsmouth introduced 20 mph limits average speeds on higher speed roads dropped by seven miles per hour. However the 30mph limit has been in place since 1935, and changing social norms can take time. The evidence is clear that 20 mph is the right limit for residential streets but in the same way as attitudes to drink-driving, it may take time for some drivers to change their behaviour.
Evidence and research on 20 mph limits

But how will it be enforced?

The Police are the experts in law enforcement and they have a duty to enforce all speed limits. The Association of Chief Police Officers has recently revised its guidance on 20 mph limits. Under the new guidelines, motorists caught driving between 24mph and 31mph would be offered a speed awareness course or a fixed penalty notice fine. If drivers were travelling up to 34mph, they could be fined, and if they were speeding at 35mph or more they would be reported to the courts.
Enforcement of 20 mph

Who supports it?

Typically 70-80% of the population think that 20 mph speed limits are right for residential roads. Recent YouGov research found majority support for 20mph speed limits in residential streets (65%) and busy shopping areas and busy streets (72%). Over 1,300 people have signed the 20’s Plenty for Worthing petition and most of the schools in Worthing, together with businesses and charities, have written letters of support.
Read here to find out more about the local and national support for 20 mph speed limits.
If you would like to support 20’s Plenty for Worthing, sign the petition here

Won’t 20 mph limits increase fuel consumption and carbon emissions?

No! This is a common myth. Driving style is the main factor which affects fuel consumption in built-up areas, not the numbers on the speed limit signs. The Department for Transport states “driving more slowly at a steady pace will always save fuel and carbon dioxide emissions, unless an unnecessarily low gear is used”.
Accelerating only to 20 mph on a residential road, instead of up to 30 mph uses less fuel.
Won’t 20 mph limits increase fuel consumption?

Why is 20 mph so important for our children?

Being involved in a road collision is the most common ‘external’ cause of death for our children. New research has shown that children are unable to accurately judge vehicle speeds above 20 mph, yet every child must learn how to cross roads safely as a pedestrian. If hit at 30 mph, a child is seven times more likely to be killed than at 20 mph.
Read here why it is vital for children