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Greens demand answers over slow motion rollout of 20mph limit

Newham’s Green Party councillors are demanding to know why plans agreed by the Council Cabinet to introduce a Borough-wide 20mph speed limit will take two years to implement.

By Jean Gray

Green Party supporters hold a banner in the street

Newham’s Green Party councillors are demanding to know why plans agreed by the Council Cabinet to introduce a Borough-wide 20mph speed limit will take two years to implement.

Councillor Danny Keeling (Stratford Olympic Park, Green), who leads the opposition at Newham Council, said: “Introducing a 20mph speed limit borough-wide is the right thing to do, and Greens unequivocally support it. We know that collisions at this speed are significantly less likely and less likely to be fatal and that it does not substantially impact journey times. But we shouldn’t have to wait two years for safe streets – that’s not what residents voted for.” 

The Cabinet meeting heard that 27 streets now have the lower speed limit. Accepting that the change would lead to less serious accidents, the Cabinet agreed to proceed on a street by street basis with separate evaluation and consultation. 

Councillor Nate Higgins (Stratford Olympic Park, Green) says he asked Labour Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz on the timeline for delivery at a November Overview and Scrutiny Committee Meeting and she told him her understanding was that it would be completed by October 2023.

But last month, cabinet members approved a plan that won’t be complete until late 2025. Councillor Higgins said: “Councillors are being told to wait when asking to make dangerous roads in our wards safer for a borough-wide plan to be in place that will now be delivered two years late”. He asked: “What on earth has gone wrong?” 

Pointing out that other London boroughs have already implemented a 20mph limit in shorter times, he added that if the scheme will take two years, there needs to be action in the meantime. “The council must be responsive to demands for change on individual dangerous roads in the meantime. The council knows which roads are dangerous. It’s time for action, not yet more delays”.