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Monday March 25 2019

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In Full . . .

20mph brings many benefits

Posted on December 28 2018 at 2:10:59

I write in response to the letter from an Alvechurch resident in last month’s edition, apparently motivated by the inconvenience caused by having to slow down at the two pinch gates in the village, in which totally unsubstantiated claims regarding 20mph limits were made.

To counter the groundless claims and put the record straight, I cite authoritative evidence. This comes from this year’s TfL (Transport for London) study, so is right up-to-date.

Air pollution: “Research suggests 20mph zones do not increase air pollution. Imperial University’s evaluation of 20mph zones in London suggested they had no net negative impact on exhaust emissions and resulted in clear benefits to driving style and associated particulate emissions.

“In 20 mph zones vehicles moved more smoothly, with fewer accelerations and decelerations, than in 30mph zones. This smoother driving style reduces particulate emissions from tyre- and brake-wear.”

Noise: “Faster-moving vehicles generate more noise from tyres. Excessive traffic noise is linked to sleep disruption and heart disease.

“Slower-moving vehicles tend to reduce traffic noise. Research in Sweden showed, when car speeds reduced from 50kmh to 30kph [30mph to 20mph], their noise decreased by 2 to 4dB.”

Road danger: “Lower speeds reduce the number and severity of road injuries. Introducing 20mph zones in London reduced casualties and collisions by around 40%, and particularly reduced injuries in children.”

Physical activity: “Lower vehicle speeds in urban areas support a shift to walking and cycling. An evaluation of 20mph zones in Edinburgh found the proportion of primary school children walking to school rose from 58% to 74%; cycling to school rose from 3% to 22%; and taking the car to school fell from 21% to 13%.”

Community severance: “Severance makes people less likely to be physically active and damages social cohesion and contact, increasing people’s risk of a number of physical and mental health problems.

“20mph zones reduce severance by reducing the dominance of motor traffic.”

So, the evidence is compelling and reducing the speed limit to 20mph through the village would even benefit our impatient driver from Alvechurch by eliminating the necessity for any pinch gates to slow traffic down any further.

Howard Allen, Alvechurch


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