Portsmouth Council Defends City-Wide 20mph Zones

Portsmouth City Council's dismissing suggestions 20 mile an hour speed limits introduced across the city haven't reduced the number of accidents.

The claims have been made by the RAC's technical director David Bizley. He said:

"There is evidence that 20mph limits are beneficial in accident hot spots, in busy urban areas and near schools. Creating more 20mph zones around schools is by far the most practical and effective solution for keeping children safe.

"Any suggestions of blanket 20mph limit in urban zones really don't make sense to motorists who readily recognise that different roads and different environments warrant different speed limits and driving behaviours.

"In fact, in Portsmouth a city-wide 20mph trial was found not to bring any significant reduction in the number of accidents. This would indicate that using 20mph throughout towns or cities is not as effective as reducing limits to 20mph around schools where drivers can clearly see their importance."

But Amber Kerens-Bathmaker, acting assistant head of transport at Portsmouth City Council has denied that. She said:

"Our 20mph scheme is a resounding success. Every year since 2008, when the scheme was completed, casualties across the board on the 20mph roads have been significantly lower compared to casualties in roads that have remained 30mph.

"The scheme has received very high support from residents. They realise that our narrow residential streets, often with parking on both sides, are not suitable for 30mph limits. The vast majority of drivers, who keep to safe speeds, welcome the official backing that the signs give them."

Road Safety Minister Stephen Hammond said:

"We want to see safe roads which meet the needs of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. That is why we want to see all councils looking at whether 20 mph speed limits could help improve safety on their roads, particularly near schools and residential areas.

"Speed limits should be set by councils based on their local knowledge and the views of the local community, but to help councils further we have provided an online toolkit and new guidance to help them make the best decisions for their area."