Opposition Liberal Democrat Councillors have hit out at an over complex set of rules that the Conservative administration agreed at Tuesday's Highways and Transport meeting. There will now be significant delays bringing in any new 20 mph speed zones.
From now on, any areas that residents want considered for a 20mph speed limit will need to be assessed against a Speed Management Strategy, a Place and Movement Matrix, have on-site visits and maybe speed checks before the consultation stage can even begin.
At the meeting, under questioning from Lib Dem Group Leader Stephen Giles-Medhurst, officers admitted that the process will mean that the earliest any new 20mph restrictions can now be implemented will likely be the end of 2022 or early 2023.
The Liberal Democrats proposed an alternative approach, backed by Hertfordshire's 20's Plenty Campaign group, to adopt a default Speed Management Strategy of a 20 mph limit on side roads. They argued this would support the government's objective of sustainable travel by making roads safer for walkers and cyclists.
Their proposal was voted down by the Conservatives.
Cllr Stephen Giles-Medhurst said, "Only a very small percentage of Herts roads are 20 mph despite campaigns from residents for many more. With just 953 20mph roads in Herts, many schools still have 30mph roads outside them. We have one the lowest numbers of 20mph roads in the country with Kent CC having over 2,300.
Council officers have told us they think 60% of Herts roads are suitable for 20mph but the Conservatives refuse to move to that position, ignoring what has become best practice elsewhere.
Many other councils, including Conservative controlled Lancashire, have adopted a far less complex approach of a blanket 20 mph side
road policy. There is an unwillingness of the Conservatives in Hertfordshire to implement what the Department for Transport's own National Travel Attitudes Surveys shows has 70-80% support. We should make our roads safer and reduce serious accidents."