20s Plenty For Sheffield Attend 2017 Annual Conference in Birmingham.

Well, Brum was a pleasant visit – posh and literally shiny new ‘New St’ station with ‘Grand Central’ shopping mall at surface level, some great old buildings and pubs (Wellington on Bennets Hill near station v good real ale pub), the fabulous Canal network around Gas Street Basin, and increasingly they are reclaiming public realm from the old ‘car is king’ days, making car free areas around Town Hall and like Coventry have made the City Centre inside the ring road 20mph.


Paul Butcher – Dir Public Health Calderdale:

Under the ‘Active Calderdale’ logo Paul updated us on progress since the 2014 decision to 20ize residential streets, with strong leadership and finance from their Health Team.


Also put effort into interim evaluation post 20 implementation:

  • Survey data – 240 responses
  • High level support for the scheme post-implementation (80% in support; 11% opposing).
  • The vast majority of residents feel that 20mph is an appropriate speed for their street
  • The main perceived advantages are around safety, particularly for residents and pedestrians.
  • There has been a significant increase in “aggressive driving” as a perceived disadvantage post-implementation (eg Tailgating)
  • Significant increase in cycling every day amongst those who already owned or had use of a bike
  • No change in walking patterns


Andrea Lee – Client Earth (CE):

This is the org who have been taking the UK Govt to court over breaching the 2008 ambient air quality directive (2008/50/EC) which sets legally binding limits for concentrations in outdoor air of major air pollutants that impact public health such as particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). See http://www.apis.ac.uk/overview/regulations/overview_AAQD.htm for brief summary.


Diesel issue = even latest euro 6 engines produce 7 times more NOx in real world driving than manufacturers claim. (and 10x more than petrol)


Currently Central Govt have offloaded their failed targets (In 2015 still 37 out of 43 zones failing) to Local Authorities, who are supposed to have draft plans to meet target reductions in place by 24.04.2017/final by 31.07.2017.

CE trying to promote a wider, more comprehensive network of Clean Air Zones: Currently the national air quality plan for nitrogen dioxide sets out what the Government will be requiring, and initially the implementation of Clean Air Zones in five cities. These cities are Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton.

The national air quality plan set out the Clean Air Zones in these cities will cover older buses, coaches, taxis and lorries. Birmingham and Leeds will also discourage old polluting diesel vans and implement other measures. Newer vehicles that meet the latest emissions standards will not need to pay and, under the Plan, Government is not requiring any of these five cities to implement a charging Clean Air Zone that includes private cars, motorcycles or mopeds.

CE want this policy to be upped:

– Mandatory for most zones currently in breach

– Include all major emission sources incl cars.

– Implemented as soon as possible e.g. 2018

– Address Euro 6 v Real Driving Emissions.

– Be a focal point for complementary measures e.g. retrofit, scrappage.

– Intro “clean car” label.

– More effort to improve public transport, walking and cycling infrastructure to enable Modal Shift.

Re 20mph and pollution: CE say their ‘Jury still out’, however my own experience is that steady speed driving means less fuel and less braking, so on roads where 20 has that effect  must be polluting less!

NB: Increasing amounts of road wear particles have been found in new research from King’s College London. Scientists tracked air pollution alongside 65 roads for ten years. The researchers found some roads where the air pollution benefits from improvements in diesel exhausts were outweighed by increases in particles that come from the wear of tyres, brakes, clutches and the road.

These particles, rich in transition metals, add to the toxicity of our urban air. There are no policies to control these emissions. Stopping from 30mph emits around twice the amount of brake particles compared with stopping from 20mph, so lower urban speed limits could help, as could reducing traffic volumes – especially by better management of goods moved by road.

(So e-cars may not be quite the silver bullet!)

Personally I like the idea of trying to come up with some way of getting a simple message across that the Brake pedal= The pollution Pedal! (The less we accelerate into the position of needing to routinely use the brake/use it strongly  we have, de facto, used less energy to get to that point, so used less fuel and created fewer gases and then fewer particles of every kind braking!)

Gary Rae – Brake’s Dir Comms and Campaigns:

Aiming for National 20 limit in all built up/urban areas, which space they see as shared space, with no primary user, and a space which needs to be Safe/Sustainable/Fair/Healthy for all road users.

(I like Rods notion of checking out the relative numbers of users in a given street space/time, and considering whether the design/resources put into the transport structure of that street proportionately reflects the users needs….)

See http://www.brake.org.uk/campaigns/flagship-campaigns/go-20 for good list of 20mph campaign material.




Ray O’Connor – Dublin Council – Setting and managing Speeds:

Having run 2 area 20s for some years, Dublin are going for a bigger ‘Inside the Ring Road’ type area this year.

Presentation notable for the degree of Consultation with residents, incl doing a journey time experiment (time cost of 20mph = 60secs over 2.5kms!)

High level of approval for lower speeds. Cars speeding and risk to children were the two greatest concerns people had around speed limits.


Unfortunately ran out of time so unable to hear more on Lessons Learnt etc.


Simon Bradbury – Transport for London ‘Vision Zero’ (VZ):

VZ = ‘Reducing the dominance of motor vehicles and their danger to vulnerable road users, prioritizing safety over all else in Transport planning.’

Biggest fall in KSI’s 2000 – 2015 = Car occupants! – so pedestrian/cycle/mcycle = proportionate rise.

Tackle rising Health costs by designing Active Travel in to transport policies/designs.

We need a ‘safer feel’ to encourage us out of vehicles.

Trialling 20mph on bigger/main roads.

Concept of vehicles having ‘smart’ speed limiters (yes please!)


Cllr Stewart Stacey – Brum Cabinet member for Transport and Roads:

‘Birmingham Connected’ strategy in partnership with police, aiming for 20mph over 90% of city.

Cycling (3% at moment! – Manchester 2, Sheffield 1!) – aiming for 5% 2023, 10% 2033, prioritizing routes within 20min ride of centre, making ‘Parallel routes’ to main roads (rather than convoluted back streets)

Promote comm involvement in 20mph complance – incl with businesses (20mph reward coffee van!)

‘Modeshift Star’ travel plan and accreditation scheme – worth a look.


Chief Inspector Jared White – West Midlands police:

This is the force that has recently become famous/infamous for its blogging

Traffic police https://trafficwmp.wordpress.com/ and its initiatives on drivers passing too close to cyclists and on speeding drivers! (Eg School childrens Court)

Supports 20mph, active in partnership with Council/Education in the Road Safety Partnership.

Brought a simulator to the Conference venue for the day for the public:




Jane Robinson – Project Manager Dft:

Presented ongoing Dft survey using anonymised GPS (TomTom etc) data to analyse effectiveness of sign only 20mph in 8 large 20 areas, 2 self-contained residential areas, and 2 city centres.

  • To evaluate the effectiveness of 20mph speed limits, in a range of settings.
  • To examine drivers’ and residents’ perceptions of 20mph limits.
  • To assess the relative costs/benefits to vulnerable groups e.g. children, cyclists, the elderly.
  • To evaluate the processes and factors which contribute to the level of effectiveness of 20mph speed limit schemes.


So far their work shows speed reductions are small (1 – 2mph) in a UK context of overall reducing speeds (!) – and notes that drivers seem to go slower on roads that ‘feel’ or look like slower roads …..


Manpreet Daroch – WHO/Youth for Road Safety:

1.24m killed pa on roads (270.000 of which are pedestrians) Disproportionately more in poorer areas. Biggest killer 15-29 yr olds.

Aim = 50% reduction by 2020

2017 campaign: ‘Save Lives#Slow Down’

4th UN Road safety week 8 – 14 may2017. To incl a Slow Down Day.


20s plenty working in collaboration with UN to produce a Toolkit to complement the week shortly.


Rod King, Founder 20s plenty: ’20sPlenty for villages’

Notes that our non-urban population (10.3m of us) is one with increasing numbers of children and older people.

The antipathy of high vehicle speeds here means:

– Elderly lose independent mobility

– Children lose independent mobility

– Social cohesion reduce in faster streets

– More isolation of community for non-drivers

– Creates structural inequality between have cars and have nots.


Anna Semlyen – 20sPlenty:

A big barrier to Local authorities implementing wide 20mph limits has been cost.


April 2016 Dept for Transport Signs Regulations update, so fewer needed, so with up to 77% fewer capital items costs fall dramatically, and with minimal signage, overall scheme costs fall by about 40%.


Geoff Collins – jenoptik.com – Average Speed Camera Enforcement

In use at 100 sites – incl 4 20mph.


– High compliance

– Feels fairer – fewer fines than static

– Consistent speeds over bigger distances

– Less braking/acceleration so less fuel use/pollution

– Fewer collisions. (36% reduction KSI’s)

– This conveyor belt efficiency means higher volumes of traffic can pass through a scheme without flow breakdown occurring.

– Good journey reliability.

New generation cameras can be mounted on existing street furniture, and function in both directions.


Gets my vote!


Apologies for any innacuracies.


Richard Attwood


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