Mon 18 Feb 2019
Vale Deputy Jeremy Smithies set out his reasons here on Wednesday why he would be supporting a move in the States later this month to prevent the wholesale introduction of new 25mph speed limits in the island, some of which also affect the Vale including Braye Road.
Because of the interest in this topic – both for and against – we asked the other parish deputies whether they would be supporting the "motion to annul" the new limits and their reasons for that. These are the responses we received in the order they came in:
Deputy Neil Inder:
"The Committee for Environment and Infrastructure have gone about this in a rather ham-fisted way. There appears to be little or no strategy for reducing speed limits on many of the proposed roads. What they should have done is brought a through-the-line proposal for the whole of the Island that could be debated and adopted by the States. What we've got is a fairly clumsy Stage 1 and no idea what's in store for Stage 2.
"I'll remind Islanders that not for the first time the Committee had been forced to bring a Policy Letter to the States to discuss a contentious issue: the removal of L'Ancresse Sea Wall. Only by threat of Requete [a petition signed by seven or more States members] did they eventually bring a Policy Letter.
"We're here again. To force a debate on a significant change to the Island's speed limits, the only method to have a general debate on the subject has been by a motion to annul. If it loses, they will have to bring a Policy Letter, which is what they should have done in the first place."
Deputy Laurie Queripel:
"It seems to me – having heard from islanders who live in the areas affected by the proposed changes – that there is merit in some of them (St Martin's for example). I think if it was possible my approach would be to assess each S.I. [proposed new limit] but I will do that anyway, and then vote accordingly. The motion [from Deputies Carl Meerveld and Jeremy Smithies] should really allow for this.
"The view of some is that as an Assembly we shouldn't be looking at such operational matters that clearly come within E&Is mandate (they do have an established/long standing related policy re the issue of speed limits) in such detail. There may be something in that but, on the other hand, deputies have been elected to take in interest in all matters of public interest.
"In my view this problem has arisen because E&I have included areas (Braye Road for example) that perhaps do not warrant the proposed actions. So the problem is, whether the Statutory Instruments will ultimately be presented in blanket form. If that is the case, voting against will mean also rejecting changes that can be justified. Which honestly leaves me unsure at this stage."
Deputy Matt Fallaize:
"If I was a member of that Committee I would not necessarily have advocated their current approach. Trying to change the speed limit on so many roads at the same time, including one or two which were likely to be quite controversial, was always going to provoke fears of 'anti-motorist' legislation even though, taken in isolation, many of the changes are hardly objectionable.
"The power to make statutory instruments is delegated to committees for a reason and it seems to me that the decision about whether roads a, b and c should be 25mph or 35mph or any other limit is best made at committee level rather than being elevated to the whole of the States Assembly.
"While I respect the right of any member to submit a motion to annul a statutory instrument, I think the States should use their power to annul only sparingly. Therefore I would want to see a compelling case for a motion to annul. I don’t see such a compelling case here. I can’t see what is so objectionable about a 25mph speed limit along, for example, Tertre Lane or Carriere Lane or Houmet Lane or Rocques Barrees to make me want to annul a statutory instrument which puts this into effect and which in any event is consistent with a States’ policy on speed limits which, as I understand it, has been in place for decades.
"This far in advance of a vote I rarely say categorically I will vote this way or that way because I don’t want to close the option of changing my mind if new information comes to light and so I will say that at the moment, and based on the above, I am strongly inclined to vote against the motion to annul."
Deputy Mary Lowe:
"Basically, my position hasn’t changed from my previous public comments and statements as President of the Committee for Home Affairs...
"I will be opposing [the motion to annul] and expect Environment & Infrastructure to come back with speed limits around the very few schools that don’t currently have such restrictions. Hopefully they will take on board what many have asked for, including the police, a 25mph during school time."
In a separate comment after being asked a question online, Deputy Lowe added: "[Home Affairs] are not in favour of speed cameras.....
we have enough – no too much – street furniture on our small island such as signs, poles, and traffic lights (unused on Route Militaire) without adding speed cameras."
Deputy Sarah Hansmann Rouxel:
"As a member of the committee proposing the safer speed limits, I will not be supporting the blanket annulment. The committee specifically broke up the statutory instruments so that if someone genuinely felt that there were roads that needed to remain at 35mph, then they could make the case to annul them individually.
"I understand that there is a portion of the public who are very angry and I am not immune to their frustrated cries, but I believe as deputies we need to listen to all voices and weigh up how people will benefit against how people will be affected. That is what I have done, not just as a member of E&I but as a Vale deputy and as the States Disability Champion. I have read through all the responses; the positive and negative. Those for the changes believed they would benefit from the changes. Those against feel like they will lose out.
"The vast majority of those in favour are from people who live and work in the area and have direct experience of using of the road. The vast majority of objections against were drivers who felt it would adversely affect them. The benefits might be small and incremental, but the only measurable downside is a slightly longer journey. For every half a mile that is reduced from 35mph to 25mph would add approximately 20 seconds to your journey.
"I know that some people are disappointed, but in this case I will not champion the voices of those that shout the loudest and longest but those of the most vulnerable who often don’t have a voice."
Why the limits are being considered:
E&I's formal decision and the reasons for it are available here.
When it will be debated:
The proposals are due to be discussed at meeting scheduled to start on Wednesday, 27th February.