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Councillors reject calls to pilot 20mph zones in Skipton area

Friday, 16 December 2022 16:08

By Thomas Barrett, Local Democracy Reporter

Councillors in Skipton and Ripon have rejected a call to pilot 20mph zones in villages and town centres.

Campaigners backing the 20’s Plenty For Us initiative say that reducing speed limits to 20mph would make the streets safer for pedestrians and reduce casualties on the road.

They argue the initiative is popular as it has been backed by over 100 parish councils in North Yorkshire with many residents growing frustrated at speeding motorists, particularly in rural areas.

However, critics have voiced concerns over the cost of introducing the zones and how they are enforced by police.

Earlier this year, the county council’s executive approved a policy to introduce 20mph speed limits on a “targeted, evidence-based approach”. This followed a review by the authority’s Transport, Economy and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee which will revisit the issue in January.

The 20’s Plenty campaign inspired Green Party member for Skipton North & Embsay-with-Eastby division, David Noland, to propose a motion at this week’s Skipton & Ripon Area Constituency Committee that recommends 20mph zones are created in any village or town centre where “benefit has been identified”.

Cllr Noland said: “[20mph zones] are popular, save lives, reduce the severity of injuries, CO2 emissions and potholes. They are sustainable and will hopefully encourage more people to walk and cycle. If this committee says we support it, it puts a bit of pressure on [executive member for highways] Cllr Duncan.”

In November, a similar motion was passed at the Harrogate & Knaresborough area committee but in Skipton & Ripon, it received a skeptical response from councillors.

Conservative councillor for Settle & Penyghent, David Staveley, called the analysis that underpins 20’s Plenty “questionable at best” and said residents in Skipton and Ripon “would not appreciate being guinea pigs” in any pilot. He added: “I won’t support this, it’s fundamentally flawed in its approach. I don’t see it will give the benefits it claims”.

North Yorkshire Police has previously come out against countywide 20mph zones due to the increased costs involved.

David Ireton, Conservative councillor for Bentham & Ingleton, said the force “refuses to enforce” 20mph speed limits, adding, “that causes major problems with residents. They say, what’s the point in having it?”.

Liberal Democrat councillor for Pateley Bridge & Nidderdale, Andrew Murday, said he backs 20’s Plenty but would wait for the outcome of NYCC’s meeting on the subject next month.

“I’m going to abstain. I support 20’s Plenty, mainly because it does reduce injuries but if it’s coming to the council I’ll leave it to them”

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