"Our campaign for 20mph speed limits in Faversham began in 2015, after two fatal crashes on crossings and a hit and run involving a school child. It felt as though there was an unhealthy balance on our streets between motorists, pedestrians and cyclists and we wanted to find a way to right that.
A group of residents supported by our local Green Party, launched a 20’s Plenty campaign and ran petitions online and offline at three locations in town. In just a few weeks we collected about 500 signatures.
I took the petition to the town council and gave a presentation on the benefits of 20mph limits. This gained unanimous support and we were advised to approach Kent County Council (KCC). Unfortunately, the council declined support for the scheme on the grounds that it was too expensive, residents were too fit and well, and there had not been enough casualties. However, we thought that this needed be examined in more detail, so we looked into the statistics ourselves...
We discovered new crash data and explored health and wellbeing statistics to support our campaign, and took our findings to Swale's Joint Transportation Board. The Board tasked Faversham Town Council to set up a working group to examine how to implement 20mph speed limits in the town. This working group went on to work for four years on developing the scheme, and comprised elected councillors and community campaigners working hand in hand.
We worked closely with 20's Plenty to understand the policy and how we could make positive change in Kent, and we continued to reach out to the community. We invited residents to place red dots on a town map, to indicate places where traffic made them feel unsafe to walk or cycle. This provided us with valuable community engagement and we found that residents were keen to talk about their experiences as well as learn about the benefits of 20mph on their streets.
We worked with experts Tim Stonor and Phil Jones to look at examples of best practice and were successful in getting the council to agree to fund a feasibility study for a 20mph zone on all residential streets in Faversham! We put the principles and recommendations of the study to the Transportation Board, in December 2016, and these were unanimously accepted - the key recommendation being a town-wide 20mph limit.
Since then, we’ve continued to build on our support base across the town, the borough and the political spectrum.
On 10 May 2019, KCC approved all of the technical recommendations put forward in support of a 20mph scheme in Faversham. And later that same month, the council published its revised 20mph policy which directly recognised two key elements of Faversham’s scheme:
- the use of ‘more innovative and less intrusive' traffic-calming measures on higher speed streets; and
- the importance of community demand over casualty rates and deprivation statistics.
KCC also launched a formal consultation, running concurrently with the trial, so residents could first experience the trial before registering their response. The consultation will run from now until February 2021. www.kent.gov.uk/faversham20mph.
Although we know more needs to be done, these changes will make 20mph limits where people live, more achievable and affordable.
2020 Vision Zero Leaders Award sponsors
Alison Moriarty, Fleet Risk Director from driive said: “It’s so fantastic to see hard work and dedication to improving road safety rewarded. All the winners showed outstanding commitment and this led to them achieving their results. DRiiVE is all about making the roads safer for every road user and we are delighted to co-sponsor this event with our friends at Reflex who share our passion.”
Find out more about driive here.
Lisa Spong, Sales Director at Reflex Vehicle Hire, said: “As a safety-centric company, Reflex Vehicle Hire take on a duty of care to protect a multitude of people. Not only do we feel the need to support our drivers and customers but all other road users too. Our aim is that no one should come to harm whilst driving a Reflex vehicle. This message permeates from the board room right through the business across all teams that carry out unparalleled levels of support. Working alongside Brake for a number of years has been an important part of our journey that allows us to expand on our knowledge and share the vital message of road safety. Shining a spotlight on these businesses and individuals is imperative to congratulate them on their magnificent efforts.”
Find out more about Reflex Vehicle Hire here.