Chances of a major confrontation on York’s streets, over the Labour Councils proposed “wide area” 20 mph speed limits, increased today following the publication of new enforcement guidance from the Association of Chief Police Officers.
The request for new guidance apparently originated from Transport Minister Norman Baker who was removed from his post in the Cabinet re-shuffle earlier in the week.
It appears that drivers found driving between 24 mph and 31 mph in the zones may be “invited” to go on a new style “speed awareness course”. Usually the other option is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points!
Similar courses have been an option for those exceeding – by a small amount – existing speed limits. They are generally well received, but reaction, from normally law abiding motorists to the new restrictions, is less predictable.
The Labour plan involves extending lower 20 mph limits to roads on which there has never been a recorded accident.
Behind the new limit, which could cost £600,000 to sign, is Cllr Semlyen – a Micklegate Labour Councillor – who is an extreme zealot on the issue.
The speed limit plan compliments Labour’s policy of targeting motorists through the extended use of ANPR cameras. Income from their use on Lendal Bridge and Coppergate is now understood to exceed £1/4 million.
The ACPO guidance is not open ended and talks of the need for limits to be clearly signed with natural enforcement using “engineering, visible interventions and landscaping standards” to increase driver awareness of accident risks.
Nevertheless, it is a change from the previous Police policy which (rightly) supported 20 mph limits only where they were self enforcing (for example using traffic calming systems)
The guidance does not recommend if proactive measuring of speeds should routinely take place in any new 20 mph limit areas.
So the North Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioners’ assurance, given at a public meeting on 10th April, that there would be no camera enforcement of 20 mph limits presumably still holds good.
Our view remains that the Police and Council should concentrate their resources on those roads which have a poor accident record.
The ACPO guidance reads: