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Council bosses begin public consultation on 20mph zones
3:00pm Wednesday 9th January 2013 in Winchester
CIVIC chiefs have begun seeking public opinion as they gear up to trial 20mph speed limits.
Winchester has a further £150,000 from the local sustainable transport fund, available from April next year, and the city council has sent questionnaires to residents of Highcliffe and Winnall in order to gauge public opinion for schemes in those areas.
Public consultation is seen as vital since the success of the project depends on residents respecting the limits.
County councillor Mel Kendal, deputy leader and executive member for environment and transport, said: "If these schemes are to be successful and have the potential for being introduced in other areas, it is essential for us to establish that we have the support of local people for implementing 20mph speed restrictions.”
A city council letter sent to residents in Highcliffe states: “Police resources for regular enforcement will need to be prioritised against other demands.”
The city council has also invited residents to set up their own Community SpeedWatch programmes.
St John & All Saints ward councilor Brian Collin said: “We realise that the police are under enough pressure as it is. The idea is that the areas chosen would be kind of self-enforcing and we've already had a couple of volunteers for the Community SpeedWatch in those areas.
“It's all about the communities helping the police. And it's just nicer living when people aren't driving at inappropriate speeds.”
The Hampshire Chronicle reported in October that the proposals have been met with widespread approval from residents associations.
However, speaking at the time, Eric Bridgstock, of Independent Road Safety Research, said: “Virtually all accidents, not just road accidents, result from a combination of a hazardous condition (for example fog, a tired or drunk-driver) and a triggering event (such as misjudgement or failure to look).
“A vehicle exceeding 20mph is not a hazard, nor is it a triggering event.
“A moving vehicle is a hazard, but a 20mph limit does not remove that hazard and, since typical average reductions in 20mph areas are about 1mph, a 20mph limit does little to mitigate it.”