Vale Deputy explains opposition to 25mph limits

Wed 13 Feb 2019

Vale Deputy and Douzenier Jeremy Smithies has explained why he is supporting a move that could prevent a number of new 25mph speed limits being introduced.

He's concerned about the 'blanket' approach proposed by Environment and Infrastructure (CfE&), says consultation on the proposals was one-sided and there was a lack of evidence that the changes would improve safety.

Asked by the Vale website why he was supporting a parliamentary motion from St Sampson's Deputy Carl Meerveld, he said there were several reasons and outlines them here:

"I have been approached by several Parishioners and other electors who have expressed dismay at the ‘blanket’ approach to imposing a 25mph limit on 80 roads throughout the Island and who felt that the motivation behind the suggested selection was ‘anti-motorist’ and smacked of social engineering," he says. "Indeed, the CfE&I webpage entry on gov.gg/speedlimitconsult  states “…and encourage more people to walk and cycle, …, which will improve health…”.

"The consultation process was one sided in that the objections were published in the ‘Speed Limits Decision Notice’ booklet with accompanying explanations as to why those objections were wrong, such as “There is overwhelming evidence … that lower speeds reduce the likelihood of collisions and reduce the severity of resulting injuries.” which was not not evidenced by anything other than common sense that a 100mph crash is likely to be more serious than a 10mph one.

"Again, dealing with Pollution, “This misconception …is not relevant to Guernsey.” with no supporting evidence. Further to the one-sided nature of the commentary is that the leaflet cites 136 (45%) of respondents expressed support but does not make any attempt to list this point of support whereas the objections are grouped together and systematically criticised."

There is, says Deputy Smithies, a lack of clear evidence as to how the limits will improve safety.

The boundaries of the areas which included the roads to be limited were taken from the Island Development Plan which was designed to cover building development. "When a development is proposed it will, if sufficiently large, be subject to a traffic management plan which may, in turn, lead to a recommendation to impose speed limits as a result of the anticipated increase in volume of traffic NOT to be taken as a reason to impose a speed limit in case development takes place."

No case
He goes on: "Specific examples of roads which are included in the arbitrary red lines on the IDP map are Glategny Esplanade and the Braye Road, which are currently limited to 35mph, and for which there seems no overwhelming case for reducing that limit.

"The range of feedback from the Police has failed to establish an urgent need to support the new limits and there will be resource implications for the Police if many extra roads are to be monitored for drivers exceeding the new limits," he says.

Finally, he adds that there was no evidence he could find that the Environment Committee had considered alternative traffic control and management technology measures.

Technical explainer:
The device being used to stop the new limits is a Motion to Annul various Statutory Instruments being laid before the States of Deliberation by Environment for the meeting scheduled on Wednesday, 27th February, 2019. It is proposed by Deputy Meerveld and seconded by Deputy Smithies.

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