Doncaster Conservatives criticise introducing 20mph limits across borough

Members of Doncaster’s Conservative party have publicly criticised the council for its continued implementation of ‘traffic calming’ zones.

Conservative mayoral candidate James Hart and Don Valley MP Nick Fletcher have criticised Doncaster Council for implementing several 20mph zones across the borough.

The council announced last year that it would continue rollout of these zones in the areas where a large amount of casualties have previously occured to prevent traffic collisions.

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While the majority of traffic calming zones are found outside of schools across the borough, some have now been implemented in other built-up areas.

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20mph speed limits are now often implemented without the use of speed cameras or physical slowing measures, which the council has attributed to costs.

Criticising the move, Conservative mayoral candidate Mr Hart said: “Used correctly these 20mph zones can be an effective measure in slowing traffic down. However blanket coverage of communities it is not.

“Indeed they report challenges of enforcing 20mph zones with speed cameras means that some roads such as Shaftsbury Avenue or Broadway, where cameras could be used, are open to drivers who ignore even a 30mph limit.

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“Well intentioned but not thought out. This seems to be the outcome of many Doncaster Council initiatives at the moment. 20mph zones need to be used in conjunction with effective traffic calming, speed cameras and speed information boards & signage. It’s time for a rethink.”

Mr Fletcher added: “A sensible balance has to be struck. These are needed around special areas like schools and health centres. I can’t support them elsewhere especially in major thoroughfares like The Broadway in Dunscroft.

“Nobody voted for this. This was not in the manifesto of the Mayor when she stood for election. It’s been brought In through the back door and it’s wrong.”

A Doncaster Council spokesman said: “In relation to traffic calming and other road safety projects, since 2010 and the significant cuts to local government funding, physical traffic calming measures are a rarity due to changes in government legislation that makes the bar for the implementation of them being very high.

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“It could be argued that the move away from physical traffic calming measures was in order to reduce costs to the Local Government sector as part of the Austerity drive from 2010.

“The approach has now moved away from the installation of speed reducing physical traffic calming measures towards the application of area wide 20 mph speed limits indicated by signs and road markings, due in part to the cost and adverse effects of these types of measures.

“This is intended to achieve a broader acceptance of 20 mph as the maximum speed limit applicable in most residential areas in order to bring about a safer environment for all road users.”

The council has also stated that the policy, in combination with the formation of a series of new cycle routes and active travel paths, is in line with the government’s decarbonisation targets.

The UK Government Transport Decarbonisation Plan 2021 sets out an aim for at least half of all journeys to be walked or cycled by 2030.