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Hampshire County Coucil say a survey has shown that more than two thirds of people want a 20 mph speed limit in residential areas.
The council asked local residents in ten areas where it is proposing to trial residential 20 mph speed limits. Almost 11,000 questionnaires were sent to residents who live in the roads where the 20mph limit is proposed. More than a quarter of households responded to indicate whether or not they would be in favour of the 20mph limit.
The percentage of those in favour in each area ranged from 67 per cent (Hart) through to 91 per cent (Fareham).
In West Town, Hayling Island, 54 per cent of residents responded in favour of the trials but owing to the proportion of people objecting in that area, this trial will not be progressed. The trial for Stanmore in Winchester will be deferred to a later date since the response return rate was not sufficient to be able to draw a reliable conclusion, either in favour or against.
In taking forward the remaining trials, the next step will be to advertise the Traffic Regulation Orders. This statutory requirement will take place over the next few months and people will have 21 days, from the day the Order is first advertised in local press and in the streets where a speed limit change is proposed, to register any objections.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Environment and Transport at the County Council, said: "We are grateful to all those who took the trouble to respond to us and for taking the time to answer the questionnaire. This has been invaluable in giving us an indication of the level of support for residential 20mph limits and how far that support extends. For example, whether people are happy for a 20mph limit in their street and if they are willing to take part in a Community Speed Watch scheme. In the main, the response has been very encouraging and, with the support of local councillors, we are now working towards implementing the 20 mph trials during the summer, subject to the outcome of the Traffic Order process that will involve formally advertising the changes for the streets that will be affected.
Department for Transport guidance states that generally, 20mph speed limits should be self enforcing. Commenting on the need for volunteers to support a Community Speed Watch scheme, Councillor Kendal commented: “The police are unlikely to treat enforcement as a priority in the residential 20mph areas and so the support of residents, through their participation in Community Speed Watch programmes, will be important should compliance with the limits become an issue. Encouragingly, the consultation revealed that there are residents in each area who would be prepared to take part in a Community Speed Watch scheme - on average 10 per cent of those in favour of the 20mph limit.”
The Residential 20 project has been developed to take advantage of the Department of Transport's recent relaxations to the signing requirements associated with 20 mph limits. The pilot schemes are intended to test the effectiveness of this new approach in response to requests from residents and with the backing of local County Councillors. The trials that are proposed to be implemented in the summer will be in:
Medstead, East Hampshire
Cherbourg Road (and surrounding roads), Eastleigh
Clarence Road, Connaught Road, Albert Street and Albany Road area, Hart
Hythe, New Forest
North Camp Farnborough, Rushmoor
Floral Way, Andover
The 20mph speed limits will minimise sign clutter by making use of 20mph 'roundels' (road markings) on the road surface and 'Before' and 'After' speed monitoring will be carried out in a sample of roads in each area to assess the impact of the new speed limit.
The total cost for implementing the pilot schemes will be in the region of £200,000.