More than a 1000 people have signed a petition calling on the county council to stop the roll-out of 20mph zones.
According to the county council the creation of 20mph areas can improve safety, create calmer streets and encourage more walking and cycling. £2.3m has been earmarked for the continued roll-out in next year’s budget proposals – as part of plans to spend £7m over three years.
Hertfordshire resident John Dowdle has launched a petition against the roll-out. And in less than two weeks it has been backed by 1451 signatures.
The petition – which is running on the county council’s website – highlights the council’s ‘extremely serious financial position’. It calls for the “wasteful spending” to be stopped immediately.
“The Administration are squandering £2.3m for the roll-out of more 20mph zones in Hertfordshire, according to budget proposals for 2024/25,” says the petition.
“Already this year (2023/24) the council has spent £3m on 20mph zones – with plans to waste a further £1.7m next year (2025/26) too.
“All in all, the Administration at County Hall are prepared to waste £7 million in total on mad schemes that few – if any – Hertfordshire residents actually want. This wasteful spending must be stopped immediately.”
In response to the ongoing petition, a spokesperson for Hertfordshire County Council told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that the majority of the coumty’s residents back 20mph zones. They point to the “significant” benefits – but stress the importance of public consultation before a zone is implemented.
“We know from a transport survey conducted for us last year by YouGov, that almost two thirds of our residents support the introduction of 20mph speed limits in residential areas and in town centres, and our draft Integrated Plan sets aside money create more 20mph areas,” said a spokesperson for the county council.
“However, we think it’s important that we consult residents before reducing speed limits in an area, and clearly not all roads are suited to a 20mph speed limit.
“We will therefore only look to introduce a 20mph zone where there is clear local support and where we’re confident that changing the speed limit will make a real difference to traffic speeds.
“We’re targeting lower speed roads around places where people live, work, learn and shop – places where we want people to feel safe and comfortable in the street environment and encouraged to walk and cycle their journeys.
“When they are implemented in the right way, 20mph zones can have significant benefits for residents and road users, including improving safety and air quality, and reducing traffic noise.”
The e-petition will continue to run on the council’s website – www.hertfordshire.gov.uk – until February 12. Meanwhile the county council will meet to determine the 24/25 budget on February 13.