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Council give green light for Camden to become 20mph zone

PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 July 2013 | UPDATED: 11:59 25 July 2013

A 20mph speed limit could be in force across Camden by April next year. Picture: Nigel Sutton

A 20mph speed limit could be in force across Camden by April next year. Picture: Nigel Sutton

© Nigel Sutton email pictures@nigelsuttonphotography.com

A blanket 20mph speed limit is set to be rolled out across Camden in a bid to reduce traffic accidents and increase safety.

Camden sustainability chief Cllr Phil Jones says a 20mph limit will increase safety and encourage people to walk and cycle. Picture: Alastair FyfeCamden sustainability chief Cllr Phil Jones says a 20mph limit will increase safety and encourage people to walk and cycle. Picture: Alastair Fyfe

Members of Camden Council’s cabinet were last night due to formally agree the proposals for the scheme following a six-week public consultation.

Results showed 67 per cent of those who took part supported the reduced speed limit, while 32 per cent opposed the change.

But some residents and motorists have expressed reservations about cutting the speed limit – claiming few motorists will adhere to the rules, while slower speeds are not necessary on some main roads.

In Camden, all roads managed by the council will be subject to the new speed limit, excluding designated red routes which are managed by Transport for London (TfL), such as the Finchley Road, and private roads.

A report outlining the new scheme cites statistics from the Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents which claims there is a 2.5 per cent chance of a pedestrian being killed when struck at 20mph, compared with a 20 per cent chance at 30mph.

Figures from the Department of Transport show there were 840 reported road accident casualties in Camden last year, including six fatalities and 108 accidents in which people were seriously injured.

It is also hoped slower speeds will reduce traffic congestion and encourage more people to walk and cycle.

Camden Council cabinet member for sustainability, Cllr Phil Jones, said: “Evidence shows if roads are slower more people walk and cycle and it’s also better for the environment.

“It also provides greater consistency for drivers. At the moment you can go from 20 to 30mph speed limits quite suddenly.

“Most motorists want to drive safely and they live in the borough with their families, so they also want a pleasant and safe environment for them to live in when they’re out and about.”

The cost of the scheme is estimated at £750,000-£1million, and it could be in place by the end of April next year. Police will be responsible for enforcing the new speed limit.

A Belsize Park resident, where there has been a 20mph zone since 2006, questioned how effective a blanket speed limit would be.

Patrick Iancu, 22, said: “These streets are 20mph but most people do 30mph.”

Since the zone was introduced road casualties in Belsize Park have fallen by 22 per cent.

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