ePetition details

Stop 20mph speed limits.

We the undersigned petition the council to Stop 20mph speed limits.

I am writing to present a defense against the proposed initiative to make 80% of Wirral roads subject to a 20mph speed limit. While the aim to enhance safety on the roads is commendable, it is my firm belief that this particular proposal has several negative implications that warrant careful consideration.

Inefficiency and Traffic Congestion: By implementing a 20mph speed limit on such a significant portion of the road network, we risk severely impeding traffic flow. The reduced speed limit may cause unnecessary delays and congestion, particularly during peak hours when commuters rely on efficient travel times. Congested roads not only waste valuable time but also contribute to increased pollution levels as vehicles spend more time idling in traffic.

Economic Impact: The reduced speed limits will have a detrimental effect on the local economy. Slower traffic will lead to longer delivery times for businesses, increased fuel consumption, and ultimately higher transportation costs. Furthermore, the potential decrease in road capacity due to congestion can discourage business investments and negatively affect the overall economic development of the Wirral region.

Diverted Traffic and Environmental Impact: Enforcing a 20mph speed limit on the majority of Wirral roads may lead to increased traffic diversion onto alternative routes. This scenario could result in more congestion and safety issues in areas not initially affected by the speed limit change. Additionally, increased traffic volumes on alternative routes could lead to a rise in air pollution levels, undermining efforts to improve air quality and contribute to environmental sustainability.

Unrealistic Compliance and Enforcement Challenges: Achieving widespread compliance with a 20mph speed limit poses significant challenges. Many drivers may find it difficult to adjust to such low speeds, particularly on roads that are designed to accommodate higher speeds. Enforcing compliance across a large area would require a substantial allocation of resources, including additional police presence and speed cameras, which may strain the already stretched budget and divert attention from other pressing law enforcement matters.

Limited Impact on Road Safety: While road safety is a paramount concern, implementing 20mph speed limits across 80% of Wirral roads may not yield the desired results. There is limited evidence to suggest that reducing speed limits to such low levels on non-residential roads significantly reduces accident rates. Moreover, drivers may become complacent and less attentive due to the slower speeds, leading to an increase in other forms of risky behavior, such as distracted driving.

In conclusion, the proposed initiative to impose a 20mph speed limit on 80% of Wirral roads raises legitimate concerns about traffic flow, economic impact, diverted traffic, enforcement challenges, and the actual impact on road safety. While the objective of improving safety is crucial, alternative measures should be explored that strike a balance between safety and the efficient functioning of the road network. A more comprehensive approach, such as targeted speed limit reductions in high-risk areas or improved driver education and awareness campaigns, may prove more effective in achieving the desired outcomes.

Thank you for considering these points. I hope this defense helps provide a comprehensive perspective on the potential drawbacks of implementing 20mph speed limits on a significant portion

Started by: Mark Neil

This ePetition ran from 01/06/2023 to 13/07/2023 and has now finished.

8 people signed this ePetition.

Council response

On a clear stretch or road, travelling at 20mph will obviously take longer than travelling at a higher speed. However, research indicates that at slower speeds, vehicles flow more smoothly through junctions. As such, within an urban environment, 20mph may help to improve traffic flow. In addition, as a result of reduced acceleration and braking, 20mph may help to reduce fuel consumption and associated emissions. The greatest environmental benefit from the change will come from unlocking the potential for walking or cycling short distances instead of driving. Guidance from the Department for Transport states that adopting a smoother driving style can also achieve lower emissions and that generally driving more slowly at a steady pace saves fuel and carbon dioxide emissions, unless an unnecessarily low gear is used. Along shorter roads with junctions and roundabouts, limiting acceleration up to 20mph also reduces fuel consumption. The advancement of electric vehicles will also have a major impact on air pollution and noise. 20mph creates a safer environment for everyone, including motorists. It will not significantly increase journey times and, by easing traffic flow, may actually reduce some journey times.
20mph will mainly apply on residential streets, and in selected locations on main roads. Most main roads will keep their existing 30mph or 40mph speed limits and 50mph or 60mph in rural areas, so once drivers leave residential area 20mph Speed Limits and join the main road network, which is better suited to carry higher levels of traffic, there should be little to no impact on journey times. The parts of any journey affected would only be the relatively short sections of that journey that would be on 20mph roads in order to reach the main road network. A recent monitoring report from the first eight settlement areas introducing as default 20mph in Wales found that there was a minimal impact on journey times. This can be explained by the fact that overall point-to-point speeds in most urban areas are determined by delays at junctions and signals rather than the speed limit on the sections of roads between them. For the majority of the day, it is rare for vehicles in towns and cities to reach 30mph for more than one or two minutes before they are slowed by queuing vehicles or red signals.
The council is trying to balance the needs of drivers with the safety and environment of local residents. This will be a change and it will take some conscious decision making as a driver to make a difference. However, over time it will become accepted such as other road safety campaigns like the wearing of seatbelts and anti-drink driving.
It will take some time for 20mph to become second nature. In reality, motorists rarely drive at a consistent speed, particularly in built up urban areas where drivers are constantly accelerating, decelerating and braking to respond to current traffic speeds, traffic lights or junctions.
It is proposed that the 20mph limit would be enforced in the same way as the existing 30mph limits in the borough. Signs and lines would be installed to make drivers aware of the 20mph limit. 20mph would be the legal limit on the roads affected and should persistent speeding at certain locations become an issue, further measures would be considered in order to address this. Classified roads by definition are a throughfare for the distribution of traffic through major towns or cities. Where possible, Merseyside Police already conduct speed enforcement on these roads.
A combination of mobile enforcement vehicles and fixed cameras will be used to make roads safer for all users. Community Speed Watch groups, the council road safety team and the local policing teams, will also continue to seek opportunities to provide education for drivers, particularly those who are exceeding the speed limit.
The objective of the scheme is not just about introducing 20mph speed limits, it is also about providing much better access to cycling and walking and creating quiet neighbourhoods with lower traffic levels. Local authorities have previously planned transport schemes with vehicle use as a main consideration and this may have encouraged people to use cars. However, the priority now should be to make the road network more attractive for walking and cycling and safer for all road users.
The majority of signed only 20 mph speed limit areas in many parts of the country have shown a positive improvement in terms of accident and speed reduction. Schemes introduced nationally have shown that where 20mph speed limits have been introduced, the walking and cycling counts have increased. Many other areas where a 20mph speed limit has been introduced also report an increase in cycle and pedestrian numbers on the street. It has been proven that any reduction in mean speeds, however minor, have resulted in a marked decrease in reported collisions. The “20’s plenty” campaign website provides information on the potential casualty reductions. You can view this at the following link: