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Smartening up Wandsworth’s Consultation on 20mph

Wandsworth Council recently agreed to consult on a proposal – originally put forward by Labour councillors – to introduce a 20mph limit on all residential roads in the borough.

Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, said: “I wholeheartedly support this important proposal and have always urged residents to back the borough-wide limit. Cutting speeds on our roads reduces casualties among pedestrians and cyclists, reduces rat-running by cars along the streets where we live and makes our streets quieter and our air cleaner. However, once again, Wandsworth’s consultation process fell short of residents’ expectations. Residents could only respond online and the information provided by the Council was insufficient.”

Following the intervention by the MP, Wandsworth agreed to include a postal address and telephone number for residents to use and agreed to provide more information to assist residents in making their decision. Sadiq Khan has publicised these details in the local media as they are missing from the Council’s consultation pages. 

Residents can now complete the consultation online here, or request paper copies by writing to Isaac Kwakye, Engineering and Highways, Frogmore Complex, Dormay Street, SW18 1EY or by calling 0208 871 6538. Residents have at least until May 15 to respond.

Sadiq Khan said “too often those without internet access are overlooked by the consultation process used by the Council. On an issue as important as this everyone in the borough, not just those with access to the internet, should have a voice, so I am grateful that the Council recognised this and is now offering other methods of communication for residents”.

Research shows that a pedestrian involved in a collision with a car travelling at 30mph is five times more likely to be killed than a pedestrian struck by a car travelling at 20mph. There were 1,124 road casualties in Wandsworth in 2014, equivalent to nearly three people every day and the number of cyclists in the borough injured in collisions has almost doubled since 2000.

Originally, the consultation lacked key information regarding what a 20mph limit would look like in practice and how it differs from a 20mph zone in terms of effectiveness.

“What was not made clear in the consultation is how a reduction in speed might be achieved. Residents often complain about a lack of enforcement in existing 20mph limit areas, so it is important that the Council makes it clear that it will not be enforcing the borough-wide speed limit, so that residents know what they are being asked to comment on”.

A 'speed limit area' uses 20mph signage and road markings such as 'ghost cushions', which are pictures of humps drawn on the road, without introducing actual physical features such as humps which force cars to slow down. According to the Council: “The Metropolitan Police would assist with driver education and enforcement in future if required. Additionally the speed limit area would be monitored and reviewed to check how it is working”. The Council estimates the cost of a borough-wide speed limit would be about £800,000.

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