A campaign to reduce the urban speed limit to 20mph and make the UK a safer, cleaner and greener place is rapidly growing
Grassroots organisation 20’s Plenty For Us is campaigning to make 20mph the default speed limit in residential areas. Its Total 20 policy has already been adopted by the local authorities of over 5.4m people, gaining recognition in towns such as Portsmouth, Oxford, Islington and Lancashire. Total 20 is also currently being passed in areas such as Sheffield and Liverpool.
Rod King, a computer consultant from Warrington, founded 20’s Plenty For Us in 2007. The organisation won funding of £15,000 a year to support volunteers, such a campaign manager Anna Semlyen, who is also a yoga teacher and councillor in her spare time.
In 1992, Anna was knocked down by a motorist while cycling. “My crash made me become an activist in road speed and traffic reduction,” said Anna, who has written a book titled Cutting Your Car Use.
The organisation’s slogan, ‘20’s plenty where people live’, has been increasingly welcomed by transport officials and the public. A survey by the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (PACTS) found that 80% of the UK public and 75% of drivers support the limit in residential areas.
As well as the obvious safety benefits involved, the 20mph limit also helps contribute to environmental sustainability, reducing congestion, fuel consumption and the carbon footprint. 20’s Plenty For Us claims that as a result of these limits being put in place, the neighbourhoods involved are become healthier and attitudes towards driving have changed, with cycling and walking becoming safer pursuits.
The campaigners plan to convince more authorities to implement the proposals. “Our aims for the future are to get more authorities to agree to 20mph default speed limits,” said Anna. “We’d like to get to what we feel is the tipping point, so that some 20m people will benefit from the policy as soon as possible. Currently we are at 5.4m.”