Hopes for 20mph speed limit across city hit by £1m cost

CAMPAIGNERS' hopes that a 20mph speed limit across York have been dashed after a senior councillor admitted they would be unable to find the £1m needed to impose the scheme this year.

Growing pressure has been building on York Council to bring in the city-wide 20mph zone, a move which has led to a reduction in road casualties of up to 22 per cent in other towns and cities in England. It is estimated it would cost between 750,000 and 1m to implement it in York.

But despite campaigners stressing that the reduced speed limits could save millions of pounds a year, Coun Steve Galloway, executive member for city strategy says the council cannot afford to implement it.

"I do not believe that we can spend up to a million pounds on a scheme like that", he said.

"Most of our budget over the next year is already committed.

"We have consulted on a 20mph zone throughout the city and we have the results of that consultation."

While a final decision has not yet been made, Coun Galloway's comments are a hammer blow to campaigners who have demanded the city-wide 20mph zone is incuded as a key part in the council's upcoming Local Transport Plan.

A council report into the 20mph zone is to be considered by Coun Galloway next week ahead of a final decision around March.

Anna Semlyen, campaign manager for 20s Plenty for York, said: "This is too important to be brushed under the carpet.

"The longer we have to wait for this, the more children and adults will die on the roads unnecessarily.

"People want this and the statistics support this.

"It is not as if the accident rates are not costing us a lot of money now."

Coun Dave Merrett, the York Labour Group's spokesman for city strategy, said: "There was extremely strong public support for a city-wide 20mph speed limit in residential areas because it is the right thing to do.

"We need to change hearts and minds along the lines of the 20s plenty campaign that is being adopted by a number of other urban areas if we are to make our streets safer places to be. Reducing the dominance of vehicles in our residential streets will make York a better place to live."