Speed Limits

Oral Answers to Questions — Transport – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 12th January 2012.

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Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Liberal Democrat, East Dunbartonshire 10:30 am, 12th January 2012

What plans she has to encourage the use of 20 mph speed limits.

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

I recognise the value that 20 mph speed limits can bring in some locations, particularly outside schools, but it is for local authorities to decide whether and where to implement them. Last October, I took steps to make it easier for every English local authority to introduce 20 mph zones and limits more efficiently and with less bureaucracy.

Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson Liberal Democrat, East Dunbartonshire

I thank the Minister for that reply. Bishopbriggs in my constituency is trying to become Scotland’s first 20 mph town and, as research shows that the risk of children being involved in an accident is reduced by two thirds in 20 mph zones, that is understandable. I congratulate the Minister on the changes he has made. Of course, that improvement does not apply in Scotland, so may I ask what discussions he has had with his Scottish counterparts about the success of the scheme? It would be excellent if the Scottish National party Government followed suit, to the benefit of towns such as Bishopbriggs and others.

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

As my hon. Friend will appreciate, this is a devolved matter so I have had no such discussions with Scottish colleagues. There are 2,000 20 mph schemes in England and evidence from the British Medical Journal shows a significant reduction in casualties and collisions of about 40%, a reduction in the number of children being killed or seriously injured of 50% and a reduction in casualties among cyclists of 17% where there are 20 mph limits in London. Perhaps my hon. Friend would like to pass that information back to the Scottish Government.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland Conservative, South Swindon

Many residents in my constituency, like me, support the increased use of 20 mph speed limits, but we are finding that the time over which designation takes place is still inordinately long. I know that the Government have made welcome proposals, but are there any specific observations that my hon. Friend would like to make to assist my local authority in making speedier decisions?

Photo of Norman Baker Norman Baker The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport

As I said in response to the initial question, we have made changes as part of the road signs review, “Signing the Way”, to make the introduction of such limits and zones more efficient and less bureaucratic. It is now possible to use roundels on the road rather than repeater signs, which saves money and is quicker to introduce. We are also looking at the requirements on local authorities to advertise road changes in traffic management terms.