THE government has issued new guidance concerning the implementation of 20 mph zones and warned of it`s intention to do so last October with an outline of the guidance.

Wirral Borough Council has, through this period, been imposing 20mph limits on thousands of our roads and ignoring the Government's guidelines.

Read excepts from the guidance below to see how WBC disregards the national speed limits framework for Local Authorities.

The Department of Transport, on October 2 last year, published The plan For Drivers (in England) which gave local authorities notice of the Government’s intention to produce updated Statutory Guidance on low traffic neighbour hoods (which includes 20mph zones).

This paper starts "There's nothing wrong with driving" and goes onto say that it is not right for drivers to feel under attack.

With reference to low speed limits, paragraph 12 says – "Right speed limits in the right places- update 20 mph zone guidance."

This policy paper also said… "so we are clear that 20mph zones should be used on a road by road basis to ensure local consent."

The resulting Statutory Guidance called Implementing Low Traffic Neighbourhoods was published by the Dept. of Transport on March 17 ( local speed limits)

The document Setting Local Speed Limits, states "This guidance is to be used for setting all local speed limits", "the guidance sets out the framework that Local Authorities should follow when setting and reviewing local speed limits".

Under Priorities for action (paragraph 12) traffic authorities should "Ensure any such measures are targeted and not introduced as a blanket measure."

Paragraph 20 stated "Unless a speed limit is set with the support from the local community, the police and other local services, with supporting education, and with consideration of whether engineering measures are necessary to reduce speeds - or if it is set unrealistically low for the road`s function and condition – it may be ineffective and drivers may not comply with the speed limit."

Consideration, Setting Local Speed Limits (27): "If the speed limit is set too low for no clear reason and the risk of collision is low, then it may be appropriate to increase the limit.”

Main points:

"The full range of speed management measures should always be considered before a new speed limit is introduced”

Speed Limit Orders – 65) “Over use (of 20mph) risks undermining public acceptance, and 20 should only be used in the right places, should be considered road by road, not as blanket measures”

Urban Speed Limits – Main Points, - “20mph should only be considered over time, with local support on major streets where there are – or are likely to be – significant numbers of journeys on foot, and or where pedal cycle movements are an important consideration, and this outweighs the disadvantage of longer journey times for motor traffic.”

- for Residential streets … “particularly where the streets are being used by people on foot and bicycle, there is community support and the characteristics of the street are suitable “ -Where new speed limits are introduced, they should be in places where the majority of drivers will comply with them. General compliance needs to be achievable without an excessive reliance on enforcement.

80) “The standard speed limit in urban areas is 30mph, which represents a balance between mobility and safety”.” Authorities should remember that the reduction of a speed limit leads to longer journey times, which, in turn, can lead to increased air pollution and climate impacts and could also damage local businesses. They should take this into account in their considerations.

95) 20mph should not be used “where vehicle movement is the primary function.”

96) “No point within the 20mph zone, should be more than 50m from a traffic calming feature.”

101) The Department for Trades`s 3-year study of 20 mph signed only limits states “There is insufficient evidence to conclude that there has been a significant change in collisions and casualties following the introduction of 20mph limits in residential areas.”

Wirral Council simply seems to have decided “20 good 30 bad” and takes scant notice of the Government guidance.

For example, paragraph 31, for each road consider – “history of, frequency of collisions, severity, type and causes “.

Yet at Council meetings there has been a fervent 20 good 30 bad atmosphere stifling debate such that when the councillor for Saughall Massie dared to suggest (in line with Government Guidelines) that rather than thousands of roads be marked in bulk as 20mph, each area or road in need of speed reduction should be considered individually. This was met with derision as if something akin to a murderous crime had been suggested.

Oddly this 20mph policy has been driven by Green councillors (with support from Labour), yet as cars run less efficiently at under 20mph the policy will cause more pollution , more air particulates, and in the Greens terms, increase global warming.

After the NHS the taxi business provides the most work in Wirral.

Can you imagine the taxi driver spending the day mainly at 18 mph? – less than the speed of fast runners or horses.

Can you imagine the delivery driver going out to work and being caught speeding at 22 then 24 mph and having to stop work due to the points on his licence?

Taxi fare increases, extra delivery charges and all sorts of costs to business are some of the implications for Wirral.

Wales is now reviewing its 20mph policy after massive opposition, the Welsh Transport Minister saying it should be targeted at areas” where the elderly and children are at risk”.

You may think that you can make your feelings known by voting in the local elections on May 2, however WBC decided that, instead of different Councillors regularly coming up for election, you would only be able to express your views through voting every four years and the next opportunity is 2027.

Laws need the general support of those subject to them and these speed limits do not have that support. WBC has overstepped the mark, is out of touch and needs reigning in.

'Concerned' of Bebington