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20mph zones in Birmingham to be rolled out

The city council in late 2012 voted almost unanimously in favour of a city-wide 20mph speed limit to improve pedestrian safety, lessen traffic congestion and reduce pollution

20mph road markings in Birmingham
20mph road markings in Birmingham

The roll out of 20mph speed limits across Birmingham will begin in the city centre and inner city wards despite resident objections, it has been announced.

The city council in late 2012 voted almost unanimously in favour of a city-wide 20mph speed limit to improve pedestrian safety, lessen traffic congestion and reduce pollution.

And next week the Labour-run Cabinet will approve phase one of the roll out, which will be focused on an area roughly within the number 11 outer circle bus route.

According to a report to Cabinet, 3,565 people responded to a survey with 39 per cent in favour of an overall 20mph policy and 58 per cent against.

This figure increased when people were asked if they should be introduced in residential estates (44 per cent), schools (91 per cent) and High Streets (49 per cent).

While support was high from schools and colleges and public transport groups, there was opposition from the Road Haulage Association and Association of British Drivers. Business was divided.

Support for 20mph limits was highest in Moseley, Edgbaston, Bournville and Selly Oak and it is likely the first zones will be introduced in these areas.

Cabinet member for a green and safe city Coun James McKay (Lab, Harborne) said: “Research from other places in the UK and overseas show that 20mph limits make roads safer, and help to make walking and cycling more attractive options, leading to less traffic congestion, better health, less noise, more social interaction and stronger communities.”

UKIP is raising a petition against the proposal. Birmingham spokesman Keith Rowe said: “It will lead to driver frustration, longer journey times and in an age of austerity the council has better things to spend its money on.”

The plans are expected to cost £7 million to roll out across the whole of Birmingham by the end of the decade.

* The area covered by the first phase of the plan includes the whole of the city centre, plus all or part of Aston, Nechells, Ladywood, Edgbaston, Harborne, Selly Oak, Bournville, Moseley and Kings Heath, Springfield, Sparkbrook, South Yardley, Bordesley Green, Washwood Heath and Hodge Hill wards.

 

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