20mph speed limit is a healthy development

By on 30/04/2014 in News

20 is Plenty formal consultation

Birmingham health chiefs have welcomed the decision to introduce a 20mph speed limit on many roads across Birmingham.

Last month Cabinet approved proposals for a pilot 20mph speed limit scheme, covering significant parts of the centre, east and south of the city.

The ’20 is Plenty’ pilot is designed to demonstrate the road safety and wider benefits of lower speed limits.

And the plan, which will hopefully lead to increased walking and cycling in Birmingham, has now been endorsed by the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board.

Director of Public Health, Dr Adrian Phillips, said: “This pilot 20mph speed limit scheme is great news for Birmingham – especially if you want to walk or cycle.

“We talk a lot about obesity and the need for people across Birmingham to be more physically active but we have to take action to make that easier.

“The success of our Be Active leisure scheme shows what can be achieved if we remove the barriers to that physical activity.

“So if we’re serious about people walking or cycling more, it’s vital that people feel safe on roads across the city.

“We know from similar schemes elsewhere in the country that reducing the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph can significantly increase the numbers of walkers and cyclists and that can only be a good thing.”

Moving people from being physically inactive to physically active is the biggest potential health benefit of transport policies.

To achieve this, increasing proportions of the population have to consider the most convenient and pleasant travel option for local journeys to be walking and cycling.

Creating safer, more attractive walking and cycling routes through reducing the speed limit to 20 mph will contribute towards a mode shift away from cars to active travel.

Our roads contribute to a number of health hazards and health inequalities; poverty is strongly correlated with air pollution, noise and injuries. Removing barriers to walking and cycling will reduce health inequalities and provide a foundation for the citywide promotion of active travel through smarter choices initiatives.

Health benefits of 20 mph in residential roads

As well as the significant potential direct road safety benefits of encouraging lower vehicle speeds, secondary benefits include:

  • Encouraging a shift to walking and cycling
  • Reduced emissions
  • Increased mobility for children with consequent gains in health and self-esteem
  • Increased inclusion and access for those without motor vehicles
  • Reduced traffic noise
  • Reduced congestion due to 'School run' motor vehicles
  • Increased social cohesion

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There Are 5 Brilliant Comments

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  1. Keith Peat says:

    As a police road driving expert, I can confirm that road safety will be impaired by 20 zones, especially where accidents are not happening. This is mainly because in such congested areas with people, children, cyclists, animals, parked cars, we experts prefer driver to drive to the circumstances through the windscreen and not to a number on a pole. In these areas drivers are already selecting speeds lower than 20 MPH. The idiot drivers simply will not be altered. What CV in driving, and road safety and prosecution does Dr Phillips have in this subject? Basically would you prefer your kiddie hit by half a ton of metal doing 20 MPH or not at all by a driver you had already taken account of the circumstance and seen the child? As an expert, with the appropriate CV I challenge the Dr and query his qualification and indeed his motives too. Will you now publish and expert’s opinion?

    As to health. Has the Doctor missed the fact that without all motor transport, including private, we would all die very rapidly from lack of basics? No water, food, heat and light, no NHS, no emergency services certainly no Birmingham Council either? Not healthy at all then. In fact the faster mankind got, and our societies were never built on manpower driven transport, so our life expectancy has risen.

    But no speed limit should be based on health and emissions but only road safety. It means we have indirectly moved from prosecuting drivers for road safety to prosecuting the because they are not green enough.

    The Dr look like a typical cycling buff. May I esquire what his demographic is? If he is a green policy supporter and keen cyclist then that should be declared.

    I will use this reply for our web site and blog. What on earth has a medical doctor doing commenting on a road safety issue?

  2. Andrew says:

    So does this mean buses will be affected too, as from what i have seen most votes came from cyclists and passengers. After all you can not penalize one and not the other and cyclists should be made to ride slower as well, as the car will be slower the cyclist will cut through traffic faster and could hit someone .

    • KrisK says:


      Any such limit would apply to all vehicles on the road.

  3. Andrew says:

    Does this also mean our car tax and insurance premiums are going to drop as well they should do. This means people will be late for work as well, even getting up early will just make days longer and arriving home later. Not everyone can use a bike for work i have a large toolbox in my car i use for work, that wont fit on a bike .