WinACC has submitted the following response to the consultation on introducing a 20mph limit in Winchester City Centre:

The focus of Winchester Action on Climate Change (WinACC) is on reducing emissions of harmful greenhouse gases. Transport accounts for around half of all carbon dioxide-equivalent emissions in Winchester District. So WinACC is keen to challenge the assumption that driving in private vehicles is harmless normal behaviour, and to encourage people to walk, cycle and use public transport.

 WinACC supports the extension of the 20 mph limit. An extension would help cut greenhouse gas emissions because it would contribute to making Winchester town a place where people can feel safe on foot, where walking and cycling are more pleasant. It would strengthen a sense of community, and nudge people away from using their cars without reflection. In addition, it would assist the economy by making it easier for shoppers to browse and making the town even more attractive to tourists; and it would help people become healthier by walking more.

There is now much evidence to support the value of introducing 20 mph throughout the city. More than 12m people in the UK already live in areas where this has been adopted, or is being adopted, eg Chichester, Oxford, Brighton, Portsmouth, Bristol, Sheffield and London boroughs. It is time Winchester joined this group. 

Introducing 20 mph is now recognised best practice where there are pedestrians and cyclists, in town centres, around shops, workplaces, schools, parks and open spaces as well as residential areas. Slower speeds encourage more people to walk and cycle. This leads to reduced car use for local trips, a cleaner, less congested, noisy, polluted, threatening environment and a more people-centred community with a higher quality of life. It is particularly important for children and elderly people: encouraging children to be more active and to play out more, and enhancing elderly people’s activity and social interaction.

The slower speeds are also good for relieving congestion and delays. Evidence shows that it makes little difference to journey times, and makes for smoother journeys with reduced energy costs. Slower speeds are common in Europe. In Germany there is evidence that 12% less fuel is used through smoother driving.

It is good for business too; businesses benefit from reduced energy costs, reduced bills for the repair of vehicles, better health of employees and an increase in property values where there is less car commuting and employees require less space for parking.

Where shoppers feel safe, higher numbers concentrate and spend increases; this has now been demonstrated in a number of British cities, York and Coventry in particular.

There is evidence that that the introduction of 20mph is most effective where it applies throughout the city/town, not just in selected areas, and WinACC would support this throughout Winchester. We are disappointed that the current proposals do not extend as far as we would like. Consideration of a wider extension should be given now to avoid abortive expenditure and unnecessary signage.

Where physical measures are introduced along with the change, the limit is more likely to be self-enforced. Cost may hinder this being implemented throughout the town at the same time, but it reinforces the value of a town-wide speed limit. Physical measures can be introduced gradually, starting with high priority areas and by ensuring that all roads in new developments are designed so that speeds do not exceed 20mph. Barton Farm is crucial in this respect.