Petition - To extend the Alton Town Centre 20mph zone

Response from Hampshire County Council, November 2019

A policy decision was made in May 2016 by Councillor Rob Humby, Deputy Leader of Hampshire County Council and Executive Member for Environment and Transport, to scale back work on specific types of traffic management schemes, including speed limits. This policy decision was in response to the department’s need to identify and deliver a £14.7m of savings by April 2017. As part of the process of identifying savings, the County Council undertook a public consultation exercise, which identified a preference to significantly reduce work on traffic management schemes which are not led by safety or legal requirements. The policy can be found on line at The County Council places safety as its highest priority, and our focus for new traffic schemes is based on evidence that targets measures on locations where they are most likely to reduce casualties. We have a finite amount of resource and so this must be used where we are confident it will make a difference.  Our new approach does not compromise our priority on safety. Instead it sharpens the focus of our work to concentrate on casualty reduction measures and road safety education.

Since 2017, another funding cut for local authorities in 2019 has further reduced the County Council’s capacity to investigate and implement traffic management measures, and required the Council to prioritise its remaining limited resources to address the causes of injury accidents to reduce the number of people killed and injured on its roads. More recently, the unfunded pressure in social care arising as a consequence of increasing demand on these services is further restricting our ability to broaden our priorities beyond these activities at the current time.

Reduced speed limits may be considered where there is clear evidence that excess or inappropriate speed has been a recurring factor in collisions. Having checked the five-year injury accident record for the site under consideration, I can confirm that there are no injury collisions related to speed that would support extending the existing 20mph zone.

With regard to 20mph restrictions specifically, a copy of the 2018 decision report relating to the evaluation of the County Council’s 20mph pilot project is attached – the recommendations were approved as follows:

  • to note the outcomes of the evaluation of Residential 20 mph Speed Limit Pilots and agree that no further such schemes will be implemented, but that the existing schemes will be retained
  • that future speed limit schemes will be prioritised in accordance with the Traffic Management policy approved in 2016, and thereby limited to locations where injury accidents attributed to speed are identified, with proposals assessed in accordance with current policy and Department for Transport guidance on setting speed limits

Yours sincerely

Councillor Rob Humby
Executive Member for Environment and Transport