UK councils wasting money on 20mph speed limit zones that can cause more accidents road deaths

Published on September 14, 2018

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ABOUT: Councils across the country are wasting millions of pounds on 20mph speed zones that could be increasing the number of serious crashes – not reducing them.Figures from 20 local authorities in England obtained by The Sun show they spent £11million on implementing 20mph speed limits over a period of five years.But data from that period shows the rate of road deaths and serious accidents rose in many of those areas instead of falling.Experts at the AA have branded the spending ‘a waste of money’ with taxpayers shelling out on road safety schemes that could prove to be more dangerous than regular speed limits.In Bath and North East Somerset the council spent £804,000 on introducing slow zones between 2012 and 2017.But a report from 2016 shows the number of people killed or involved in serious crashes went up in seven of the 13 zones where they were implemented.In Manchester £1.7million has been spent on 20mph zones since 2012.But figures show motorists are not driving any slower and crash rates on some 20mph roads have actually increased.In Hampshire, county council chiefs have been forced to admit their road safety schemes have had no effect on the number of accidents or injuries.The road safety monitoring group also found that serious incidents in some 20mph zones increased.Commenting on the figures from Bath, a report says: ‘Casualty severity has worsened marginally in Bath and more so in outlying towns.Again, this is reflective of the national situation.’ In Bath’s Paulton area, there was a 3.5per cent increase in crashes in 20mph zones.In Newbridge and Weston there was a 2.5per cent spike.The deputy leader of Bath and North East Somerset told The Sun the council ‘just hasn’t got the money’ to be spending on such schemes.Previous research from the Department for Transport shows that 80 per cent of drivers ignore 20mph speed limits in residential areas.The ’20 is plenty’ scheme is often implemented in areas where there are lots of residential properties, near schools or care homes.The Freedom of Information request results come after it was also revealed councils are ‘wasting’ millions on luxury cars for chief executives, council leaders and mayors.Data showed 207 local authorities spent £4.5million on cars for senior members of staff since 2015.The councils with the grandest taste in cars included Cheshire West and Chester, Cheshire East and Kensington and Chelsea, which all own a Bentley Continental Flying Spur worth £133,000 to £170,000.

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