Transport leader defends 20mph zones in city

A transport leader has defended a city's introduction of 20mph zones following negative comments from the prime minister.

During a visit to Coventry on Monday, Rishi Sunak said the lowered speed limits should not be imposed "against the will of local communities".

Responding on X, West Midlands’ cycling and walking commissioner Adam Tranter said 75% of residents had supported the scheme.

“Suggesting otherwise undermines the important engagement that has taken place with the local community," he added.

A new 20mph zone in Earlsdon was agreed by Coventry City Council in January as part of a raft of traffic changes for the area.

The council said a consultation of over 400 residents found “strong support” for the blanket speed limit, with just one specific objection to a traffic management order.

But about 280 people called for a pause in the scheme ahead of January’s meeting, saying residents needed more time to consider its impact.

During his visit to the city, Mr Sunak said recent government announcements made it clear low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) "should not be imposed in a top-down, blanket fashion.”

The prime minister has previously described such schemes as "hare-brained" and a "war on motorists".

Writing on X yesterday, Mr Tranter said: “The proposed 20mph zones are not being ‘imposed against the will of residents’ in Coventry. In fact, in consultation, 75% said they supported the zone."

Over the weekend, he highlighted two graphs from a government review of LTNs which found more support than opposition to the schemes.

One chart showed, in all areas apart from London, the majority of people living in an LTN were not aware.

On Saturday, Mr Tranter said “anyone who works in local government knows 20mph areas are popular and make sense, especially where people walk and cycle".

"We shouldn’t let road safety become a political football," he added.

This news was gathered by the Local Democracy Reporting Service which covers councils and other public service organisations.

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