London Assembly votes against motion calling for 20mph speed limit targets

Labour say it’s “not within the mayor’s gift” to force borough councils to introduce speed limits, reports Noah Vickers, Local Democracy Reporter

credit TfL
credit TfL

A call for specific targets to be set on the introduction of more 20mph speed limits on London’s streets has been voted down in City Hall.

A motion debated by the London Assembly on Thursday (7th) had called on mayor Sadiq Khan to “set a new target for speed limit reductions” to 20mph “on streets where people walk, live or shop”, most of which are controlled by borough councils.

The debate was tabled by Green assembly member Siân Berry, who said it was a “sensible, policy-based” request which would help the assembly to hold the mayor to account on his goal of improving road safety in the capital.

She pointed out that his current transport strategy does not set any specific target on the introduction of more 20mph limits, and her motion called on the mayor to “amend the relevant Transport for London (TfL) action plans to increase work with boroughs to achieve this target”.

Her party colleague Caroline Russell said that the lack of 20mph limits on some of the capital’s roads had meant that “we could have people alive and with us, who are not” and that there would be “a human cost to inaction” on the issue.

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Khan’s transport strategy states: “Lowering speeds is fundamental to reducing road danger because a person is five times less likely to be fatally injured if hit at 20mph than at 30mph.”

It adds: “20mph limits will continue to be implemented on London’s streets, with 20mph considered as part of all new schemes on the TfL road network”.

Relatively few roads are controlled by TfL. The London-wide transport body is generally responsible for trunk roads in and out of the city centre, along with the congestion charge’s boundary roads and the North Circular and South Circular roads

Labour AM Elly Baker said while her party supported “the spirit” of the motion, they could not vote in favour of it, because it was “not within the mayor’s gift” to force borough authorities to introduce the limits on roads they control, as part of meeting any target set.

She explained that Labour would therefore abstain in the vote on Berry’s proposal.

The Greens were joined in their support for the motion by the Liberal Democrats, but the Conservatives voted against, meaning it failed to win majority support from those voting.

Tory mayoral candidate Susan Hall, who is running against Labour’s Khan in next year’s election, has said that she would remove 20mph limits from main roads if elected.

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