20mph zones could be on the horizon as Redbridge Council is asked to explore options

Area two councillors have asked Redbridge Council to explore the pros and cons of 20mph zones

Area two councillors have asked Redbridge Council to explore the pros and cons of 20mph zones - Credit: Nigel Sutton

Speed limit zones keeping residents to 20mph could be on the horizon after area two councillors asked Redbridge Council to explore examples elsewhere.

At their meeting in Sir James Hawkey Hall in Broomhill Road, Woodford Green, on Tuesday, the committee was told the government has given local authorities the power to introduce 20mph zones across their boroughs.

The Department of Transport says such schemes could be considered in residential areas were “pedestrian and cycle movements are high”.

Cllr Michael Stark suggested the council look at the efficacy of schemes already introduced in other boroughs.

He said: “If you hit someone at 20mph, they are injured. If you hit them at 30, they’re seriously injured and at 40, they’re dead.”

And Cllr Hugh Cleaver said: “If they [20mph zones] do reduce traffic, I think they would be worthwhile considering.”

The council already has a programme of 20mph zones around all its primary schools but doesn’t have a policy on the blanket introduction of such zones and there is no specific funding for the work.

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A council report presented to councillors also said research into signed-only 20mph limits shows they generally lead to only small reductions in traffic speeds.

It added: “If 20mph zones are to be used where excessive speeds occur, then traffic calming measures would be needed… which can be very costly and not always popular with residents.”

Cllr Paul Canal said: “You can pass all the laws you like, but if we can’t enforce it, we shouldn’t start it.”

Sgt Chris Chandler, of Monkhams safer neighbourhood team, told the committee using an officer with a speed gun is “not effective” at lower speeds.

He said: “At these speeds, motorists can see the officer.

“It’s a matter of resource allocation.”

Cllr Gwyneth Deakins joked: “The answer is to have a blow-up doll.”

The introduction of a zone would require a full traffic assessment including costings and consultation with residents.

The members agreed to ask the council’s cabinet to monitor schemes in other boroughs and report back to the area committee.