Suffolk County councillors calls for great enforcement of 20mph speed limits
Calls for increased enforcement of 20mph speed limits in Suffolk have been made by councillors, after Highway Code amendments aim to place a greater emphasis on pedestrian safety.
A motion passed with cross-party support at Suffolk County Council on Thursday afternoon said that new 20mph zones would only be introduced in areas which had community backing, and called for Suffolk Constabulary to ‘increase and prioritise enforcement activities across all speed limits (including 20mph) where there is clear evidence of significant non-compliance or an injury collision history, and ensure that all officers act in line with this policy’.
The meeting heard that some communities were told 20mph areas were not enforced because they often came with other traffic calming measures such as speed humps that meant they had to be self-enforcing.
But councillors said 20mph zones were introduced to reduce incidents of pedestrian injury from speeding vehicles and needed policing.
Councillor Caroline Page from the Green, Liberal Democrat and Independent group put forward the motion, pointing to a recent amendment in the Highway Code that states all speed limit signs with a red circle should be enforced.
She said: “The new Highway Code has placed vulnerable road users at the top of its hierarchy to ensure they are safer on our roads. Yet for some, the concept of reducing speed to 20mph is somehow presented as an eccentric and impractical dream.”
Green councillor Robert Lindsay said it was “right to push them” on enforcing those areas.
Conservative cabinet member for operational highways, Paul West, urged motorists to be respectful of the communities they drive through by sticking to the speed limits.
He added: “There will never be resources to enforce every speed limit on every road all of the time – that’s why we support the police putting more resources to it and equally being strategic with areas that are worse affected so we can enforce against a greater number of individuals.”
A Suffolk Constabulary spokesman said: “Road safety and casualty reduction is an important issue for Suffolk Constabulary. We will continue our approach with road policing and safer neighbourhood teams working with local communities by addressing areas of concern where speeding is an issue as well as providing reassurance to all road users.
“20mph zones are usually created with traffic calming measures in place which naturally control the speed of vehicles. However, if an officer witnesses speeding any zone they will take the action they think is reasonable at the time.
“We do have finite resources and we need to ensure our officers are located where they are needed most, however we will continue to support communities with speed watch initiatives and if issues persist in a particular area in a 20mph zone we can take enforcement action, although it cannot be dealt with by a ticket and has to be reported for prosecution.”
Suffolk police and crime commisioner Tim Passmore said: "I am satisfied that the Constabulary’s approach to speed enforcement across the county is appropriate. We have made significant investment in roads policing and speed cameras to ensure resources are in place to keep our roads safe. We also work closely with our RoadSafe partners, including Suffolk County Council, to target speeding drivers and enforce the law while raising awareness of the dangers and educating motorists.
“I would like to stress that all drivers need to take responsibility for keeping themselves and other road users safe by sticking to the speed limit and driving to the road conditions. Speed limits are there for a reason. Speed is one of the fatal four causes of serious injury or death on our roads and thoughtless drivers ignoring speed limits really do need to wake up to the fact that they are not just risking their own lives, but the lives of fellow road users.“
A second motion was also passed with cross party support to identify additional road safety education measures, including new means of school engagement as well as podcasts and videos.