20.1 C
Harrow on the Hill
Monday, July 22, 2024
HomeNewsNew approach to rollout of 20mph zones across Hertfordshire

New approach to rollout of 20mph zones across Hertfordshire

Transport officials may now re-look at plans for 20 mph zones that have NOT been supported by residents – where they believe a smaller scheme may be supported.

The 20mph zones are widely seen as a way to support road safety, create calmer streets and encourage more people to walk and cycle. Back in 2021/22, the county council earmarked £7m for the roll-out of a number schemes across Hertfordshire.

At a meeting of the county council’s highways and transport cabinet panel, on Tuesday (June 25), councillors heard that there are 39 schemes that are  “at various stages of delivery” across the county.

ADVERTISEMENT

Of those six have been completed – with a further five planned but yet to be implemented and seven at the ‘detailed design’ stage. But a  further 11 schemes – that have been assessed and scoped – have NOT been progressed, after failing to win local support at consultation.

Now councillors have been told that a more “flexible” approach is to be adopted, where schemes are not backed locally. Instead of not progressing with the schemes at all, they could seek to identify smaller scale interventions.

That could, say officers, allow for more tailored interventions focussing on areas with higher levels of vulnerable road users – such as around schools or other community areas.

And a number of the schemes that were not supported in their entirety – in Stevenage, Hoddesdon, Waltham Cross and Watford – may now  be reviewed.

During the meeting Stevenage Cllr Adam Mitchell – who is deputy executive member for highways and transport – said he had previously objected to one of the rejected schemes.

But he was among those to welcome the new nuanced approach. And he told councillors he liked the idea of being able to “rescue” some of the schemes.

Going forward it was reported that after the consultation stage there would be three options available. There would be options to progress with the whole scheme or to  withdraw from it in its entirety. There would also be an option to revise the project – identifying specific areas for smaller scale interventions, such as schools, parks or shopping areas.

During the debate executive member for highways and transport Cllr Phil Bibby stressed the commitment to public support when implementing a 20mph scheme.

“Obviously we would have liked to have all the top prioritised schemes in place in their entirety,” he said.

“But we very clearly set out – even though there was objection at the time – that we will work with member and public agreement, because we are not going to impose these limits.”

In emphasising the council’s decision not to impose 20mph limits, Cllr Bibby also pointed to the “public backlash” in Wales.

And he said: “We’re only putting these schemes in where they are actually acceptable to the public.

“So yeah ,we would have liked to have done more places. But we’re not going to impose them on areas that don’t want them basically.”

During the meeting officers were asked how much of the £7m budget for 20mph zones had already been spent. Officers did not give a figure but said they would report back to the panel with an exact figure of what has been spent so far.

Never miss another news story, subscribe to Harrow Online for FREE!