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Tunbridge Wells slashes speed limit on 50 roads to 20mph in bid to make streets safer

PUBLISHED: 12:18 10 March 2017

A 20mhp speed limit road traffic sign

A 20mhp speed limit road traffic sign

PeterEtchells

Major roll out after one motorist clocked doing 87mph in a quiet residential street

One of the biggest 20mph zones in the county has gone live, with 50 streets in Tunbridge Wells dropping speed limits in a bid to cut down the risk of pedestrians - especially school children - being hit by cars.

Residents in and around the St John’s area had become worried their roads had become a rat-run during rush-hours - now the roads which take in schools from Skinners to St John’s Primary and St Augustine’s Roman Catholic School have dipped from 30mph to 20mph.

Concerns were particular raised when one car was clocked at 87mph along Newlands Road.

Now council chiefs have invested £40,000 on the scheme.

County and borough councillor Peter Oakford explained: “We really need to help and support residents to make these rat-run roads safer in the mornings and evenings.”

Tunbridge Wells council said it backs the scheme and hopes it will slow drivers down and obey the new laws.

A spokesman said: “This was a residents led scheme and we have been working with Kent County Council to put it in place.”

However, there have been concerns expressed.

A spokesman for the Kent branch of the Alliance of British Drivers said: “We are not opposed to 20 mph speed limits in all locations. For example, where the natural speed of traffic is near that speed already. However we are opposed to blanket wide area 20 mph limits because they are not a cost effective road safety measure, are not likely to be complied with and needlessly slow traffic.

“In general the benefits of 20 mph signed area wide area schemes are grossly exaggerated. The average reduction in the speed of traffic is typically about one mph.

“That speed reduction is not likely to have a significant or measureable impact on road traffic accidents and not have any impact on the general environment of the roads concerned. Neither is it likely to encourage cycling or walking or discourage driving so the general health benefits will be nil - indeed there is no good evidence yet available for any such positive benefits.”

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