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Nick Clegg backs York 20mph speed limit plan
CONTROVERSIAL plans for a blanket 20mph speed limit on York’s streets have been backed by the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
City of York Council is set to bring in reduced speeds on residential routes throughout the city by the end of 2014, following a manifesto commitment by the ruling Labour group.
Transport officials have raised concerns that 20mph limits could lull pedestrians into a false sense of security and The Press reported last week that former police accident investigator Mike Natt had questioned their effectiveness.
But Mr Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ under-pressure national leader, has now said the city’s approach to the lower speed limits is “encouraging” ahead of a motion supporting their introduction across the UK, to be debated at the party’s upcoming conference.
The council’s Liberal Democrat group is among those opposing a city-wide 20mph scheme, saying the estimated cost of £600,000 to £1 million should be devoted to other safety measures. Supporters say it would increase safety for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians and reduce pollution and congestion.
A letter from Mr Clegg’s office to council leader James Alexander said: “It is encouraging to hear that the use of 20mph traffic-calmed zones has been successful in York. Liberal Democrats are pushing for action to make our roads safer and reduce the number of unnecessary deaths, and given the evidence in favour of adopting 20mph limits in residential areas, we are hopeful the policy motion will be passed at autumn conference.”
Coun Alexander said: “I welcome the support of the Deputy Prime Minister and I hope he can convince his party colleagues in York to change their minds in opposing this policy.”
The council’s Lib Dem leader, Coun Carol Runciman , said Mr Clegg’s office had confirmed blanket 20mph limits were not party policy and the motion was up for debate, meaning it could be “passed, defeated or heavily amended”.
She said: “Liberal Democrats in York are opposed to this approach, so I plan to speak against the motion as we continue to hold the view that a targeted use of 20mph limits is best for York.”
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