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Sinn Féin calls for 20mph zones in residential areas

7 March, 2014 - by Declan McAleer

West Tyrone MLA, Declan Mc Aleer has said that his party supports the call for the speed limit in built up areas to be reduced to 20mph. 

 According to Mr Mc Aleer, who sits on the DRD committee,

 "At our Ard Fheis in February we passed a motion in support of the ’20 is plenty’ campaign and on the DRD committee we are carefully scrutinising the Road Traffic (Speed Limits) Bill.

 "On a recent fact finding visit to Edinburgh where the councils Transport committee is carrying out a pilot scheme on 40kms of local roads, we heard evidence that the reduced speed limit is making roads safer, particularly for vulnerable people and is also encouraging people to make a modal shift to more sustainable forms of transport, such as cycling."

 ‘The aim of the proposed legislation is to make built up areas more safer and whilst we support a reduced speed limit of 20mph in built up areas, to date we have been presented with little evidence that this could not be achieved using existing legislation.

 ‘At present, DRD can designate areas as 20mph zones. In fact, there is currently 88.7 miles of road with a 20mph limit in the north.  This includes 36.8 miles in Belfast and 5.0 miles in Omagh.

 ‘However, if the proposed legislation is implemented all urban roads in the north (4291 km) would be reduced to a 20mph default limit.  In such a scenario, DRD would then have to painstakingly go through each road and present the case for its 20mph limit to be deviated from, if required. 

 ‘The other reality is that rural roads would not be covered by such legislation and statistically around three quarter of fatalities occurs on such roads.  Whilst we are supportive of a 20mph limit in residential and other built up areas, a lot more evidence and scrutiny is required before the case for new legislation can be proven’.       

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