Garth Harkness

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Saddleworth North Ward on Oldham Council Learn more

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20’s Plenty for Us in 2020

by Garth Harkness on 28 October, 2020

Liberal Democrat Councillors are proposing a motion at the next full meeting of Oldham Council (November 4th) calling for a default 20mph speed limit to be introduced on the Borough’s minor residential roads.

Twenty million British citizens already live in local authorities where a 20mph default speed limit exists.  The Liberal Democrats want Oldham Council to do the same.  This is the second time they have introduced such a proposal at the Council; the first was in February 2014.

The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Shaw Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, is proposing the motion.  Commenting he said:  “The Covid-19 pandemic has made crystal clear just how precious life is.  Whilst we as a local authority work with our partners in the National Health Service to bring this terrible disease under control, one practical measure we can introduce straight away to save lives in another way is to reduce the speed of vehicles being driven along our minor roads.

“More than half of all road accident casualties occur on roads with 30mph limits, and a pedestrian is seven times more likely to die if they are hit by a vehicle travelling at 30 miles per hour than they are at 20 mph and ten times more likely if they are aged 60 or older.”

Crompton Councillor Diane Williamson is seconding the motion: “Not only will a 20mph speed limit reduce road deaths, it will also reduce injuries and as vehicle speeds are slowed there are environmental benefits as atmospheric pollution from exhaust fumes is reduced and cycle use increases as cyclists feel more confident to go out again onto our roads.”

Although Liberal Democrat Councillors welcome a recent announcement that a 20mph speed limit will be introduced in some of the Saddleworth villages they want the same applied boroughwide, as recommended by the British campaigning group 20’s Plenty for Us and by the General Assembly of the United Nations, which voted in August 2020 to recommend to all governments a 20mph (or 30 km/h) speed limit.

Councillor Sykes concluded:  “If we want to ‘build back better’ after the pandemic then one way we can do this is to improve the safety of our Borough’s residents on our roads, whether a driver, passenger, cyclist or a pedestrian.  If the United Nations has endorsed a 20mph speed limit as a way forward, then that’s good enough for us. We don’t have to spend a fortune on engineering solutions, we just need to get on with it.  We can save lives if we kill vehicle speeds. 20’s plenty for us in 2020.”

The next full meeting of Oldham Council will be held online from 6pm on Wednesday November 4.

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