'All roads in UK should be 20mph'
THE speed limit on every residential street in the country should be 20mph, the Liberal Democrats' Bristol mayoral candidate has told his party's annual conference.
Jon Rogers told an audience of fellow activists yesterday that the move would lead to a "healthier, happier city".
The Lib Dems then voted to approve a "drastic expansion" of 20 mph zones across England.
Bristol residents are currently being asked whether they approve of plans to roll out 20mph zones across the city, following two trials in areas east and south of the city centre.
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The scheme will cost £2.3 million to implement, and would make Bristol one of the first 20mph cities in the country. Dr Rogers told delegates in Brighton that 20mph areas were "becoming a reality in residential and shopping streets".
He said: "Over 80 per cent of our residents support safer, healthier and more community friendly streets. It is a popular policy and it can be done now.
"We are currently consulting with residents on the details of 20mph roll out across Bristol streets."
To date the proposals have received a cautious welcome from residents – around half say they are in favour, while another 20 to 25 per cent have said they agree in principle but want to find out more.
Some of the other mayoral candidates have backed the switch when asked by the Post, including Labour's Marvin Rees and Daniella Radice, the Green candidate.
But the plans have been criticised by some in the city, including Tory group leader Peter Abraham, who fears it will prove an expensive failure. Mr Abraham has said there is a danger of motorists being "harassed", and questioned how the new limit could be enforced.
But Dr Rogers insisted: "The benefits are clear.
"20 mph areas support and build local communities, making streets friendlier, less noisy and more people-centred.
"It makes walking, cycling and outdoor play a more attractive option," he said, leading to "a happy, healthier city".
Lib Dem activists largely agreed on the benefits of 20 mph zones, although they were divided on the role the government should play.
The original motion suggested a transport minister should be put in charge of implementing them.
But Dr Rogers said: "We do not need ministers to do for us what we can already do for ourselves."
Instead, the party agreed to call for a transport minister to be put in charge of working with local authorities to expand 20 mph zones.
Yesterday's vote means that insisting all new developments have 20 mph zones, as well as setting aside more government money to roll out the limit to other areas, becomes official Liberal Democrat policy.