Agenda item

Public Questions

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The Chair informed Members that a large number of Public Questions had been received and hair indicated at the outset that having regard to the Council Procedure Rules she would allow 30 minutes for public questions. Those members of the public unable to ask their question would receive a written response.


Don Naylor asked if Wirral Borough Council expected to liaise with neighbouring Local Highway Authorities, for example Flintshire County Council, in order to cross-reference experiences of successfully implementing 20mph measures.


The Chair responded to state that Wirral Council had liaised with the bordering authority of Cheshire West and Chester, where 20mph speed limits have previously been introduced across all residential areas. Officers had also taken advice from the national "20's Plenty" campaign which referred to data and information from many local authorities that had previously introduced widespread 20mph speed limits.

Janine Pinion asked if there had been any post-implementation feedback or studies from areas which had already implemented 20mph zones – apart from the Belfast study.

The Chair responded to confirm that several outcome studies were available online, including Traffic for London (TfL) Cheshire West and Chester and Edinburgh. Many local authorities in the UK have implemented 20mph speed limits, however best practice suggested that 20mph schemes should be evaluated over a six-year period with three-year worth of before and after data included.

Gillian Homeri asked a question as a victim of a road traffic incident, asking How many lives are lost in Wirral due to road accidents and how many are seriously injured?

The Chair responded to confirm that for the full calendar year of 2022 the collision record is 106 killed or seriously injured, with 5 fatal injured and 101 sustaining very serious injured.

Barbara Gleave asked a question regarding the increase in traffic on our roads and asthma as an increasing health problem, especially in Children. The question asked if the introduction of a 20 mph speed limit will have any impact on air quality and if slower speeds will reduce the harm to children

Mike Comerford noted his concerns regarding the volume and speed of the traffic through Thornton Hough Village, and recent fatality. He asked if the Council would change the speed limit through the village from 30 mph to 20mph in line with its drive to increase road safety and reduce the number of injuries/fatalities on our roads.

The Chair responded to say state that itwas proposed to introduce 20mph speed limits on Smithy Hill, St Georges Way and on parts of Thornton Common Road and Manor Road, through Thornton Hough Village as part of area 27 of the scheme proposals. If funding is approved, this is currently programmed to be progressed as part of Phase 3 of the overall scheme.

Rizgar Homeri asked if Merseyside Police and other emergency services fully consulted about 20mph limits and have they given any feedback now the limits are being implemented.

The Chair responded to confirm that Merseyside Police were consulted and are stakeholders in the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership. Alongside Wirral Council, they have worked with Liverpool City Region Combined Authority on the regional road safety strategy and the Wirral Road safety plans align with this work. The Police and Crime Commissioner has issued public statements supporting the 20mph roll out.

Ann Adern asked what the expected effects on fuel consumption are if people drive at 20mph.

The Chair responded to say that Guidance from the Department for Transport issued as part of a 20mph research study published in November 2018, inferred that adopting a smoother driving style and generally driving more slowly at a steady pace saves fuel, unless an unnecessarily low gear is used. Along shorter roads with junctions and roundabouts, limiting acceleration up to 20mph allows for fewer gear changes and reduces fuel consumption.

Sarah Spoor noted that she had asked a question a year ago to raise the issue of the lack of accessible play equipment in Wirral public play areas for children who are wheelchair users, noting that she had asked the council to consider the installation of a wheelchair accessible swing to one of the public park play areas. Further correspondence had noted that whilst the costing had been undertaken for two swings, the Wirral Council, Investment and Change Board had made a decision that capital funding would not be made available to install the two accessible swings, however, the funding would be reconsidered in the next capital budget.

The chair responded to say that The Parks & Countryside Service had continued to seek funding for the two Wheelchair Swings. This included a bid for grant funding to Veolia Environmental Trust, the results of which are only scheduled to be released in early December 2023. It was is still the intention to apply for Capital Funding, from Wirral Council, as a part of next year’s Capital Programme.

Rosemary Chandler asked what werethe expected benefits of 20mph speed limits.

The Chair responded to state that the greatest benefit from the speed limit change came from unlocking the potential for walking or cycling short distances, instead of driving and making the roads safer and healthier places for all users. Liverpool City Region Road Safety Strategy had a vision to reach zero road traffic collisions by 2040 and safe speeds were a key element of this strategy.

Stuart Smith asked why the affluent side of the Wirral receiving a better service in respect to the mowing of grass verges and what will the council do to rectify this specific issue.


The Chair responded to confirm that Wirral Council web pages provided information on grass cutting and maintenance schedules for council owned land. While the Council will always seek to deliver against this schedule this can be affected by staff absence, machinery repair and weather conditions. Where an area was identified as being behind schedule the service will seek to redeploy its highway verge teams to bring work back on schedule, but that was not always possible. There is no policy of treating any wards differently from one another, a standardised approach to the frequency of scheduled grass cutting has been applied.

Niamh McGarry-Gibbon asked if the Chair was a member or supporter of Extinction Rebellion.

The Chair confirmed she was not a member of Extinction Rebellion but noted that she was very concerned that the climate emergency is the biggest threat facing humanity right now.

Ken Ferguson on behalf or Reform UK asked why the public consultation on 20 MPH zones revealed that 66% of respondents did not want them yet the Council had unanimously voted in its favour.


The Chair noted that only two petitions against the 20mph speed limit scheme have been received by Wirral council, one with 8 signatures and one with 54 signatures. A further petition has been received in favour of the 20mph speed limit scheme going further and that petition has received 33 signatures so far. 

Philip Barton asked a question relating to Conway Street and Europa Boulevard Cycle Schemes noting that that wheelchair and mobility scooter users will suffer as a result of this decision, and asked if the committee could reconsider its decision to permit the introduction of segregated cycleways on Conway Street and Europa Boulevard.

The Chair responded to say that the scheme had been designed in accordance with technical guidance note for the design of cycle routes ‘Local Transport Note 1/20’ and has been reviewed by Active Travel England who are the Government’s executive agency responsible for making walking, wheeling and cycling the preferred choice for people to travel.  As per the resolution of this committee at its July meeting, a decision regarding the scheme will be taken by the Director of Neighbourhoods, who will do this after taking into account all representations  submitted as part of the Phase 2 consultation and all other relevant matters. An Equality Impact Assessment will be completed to inform this decision-making process, the outcome of which will be published in due course.