Friday 28 September 2018
Proposals to introduce or extend 25mph speed limits to broadly cover all Local Centres and Main Centre Outer Areas, as identified in the Island Development Plan, have been formally approved by the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure. These changes are in line with the island's long established speed limits policy.
The Committee has today published a detailed report outlining the results of its recent consultation on the proposals, relevant background information and evidence to explain its final decision.
In its decision notice, the Committee has provided a breakdown of the feedback received together with a detailed response to the main concerns raised by respondents who were opposed to the proposals.
Having analysed all of the main topics raised in the public responses, the Committee's view was that objections raised did not produce any concerns or evidence that it was unable to address or were significant enough to outweigh the benefits of proceeding with reduced speed limits. The Committee welcomed the support from the public who live in the areas that would be affected by the reduction in speed limits.
Deputy Barry Brehaut, President of the Committee for the Environment & Infrastructure, said:
'The States-approved Integrated Transport Strategy puts road safety as its primary objective. Using the safe system approach, speed limits are set according to objective safety criteria. The speed people feel is appropriate to drive a vehicle is often very different to the speed people on foot, bike or mobility scooter feel is appropriate for other vehicles to pass them. There is extensive evidence that these vulnerable road users are and - as importantly - feel safer in busy community areas when traffic speeds are slower.
'I think it's important to recognise that speed limits have evolved over time as societies have set different priorities for their road system. For example, in the 1960s limits were set using the 85th percentile speed, reflecting the view that drivers were making rational decisions about road speed and only the minority (the remaining 15%) would be considered as speeding.
'However, from the late 1990s onwards governments began to prioritise road users' safety over factors that had traditionally dominated the process, such as driver attitudes and their personal preferences for high speed travel. This led to the development of the safe system model, which is now widespread and successful internationally.
'While speed limits are not the only means to achieve slower speeds, they are nonetheless an important part of the equation, and the Committee has used internationally-recognised evidence to inform its decision-making; as detailed in our comprehensive decision notice.
'The Committee recognises that these changes will not be popular with all in our community, but it is also important to recognise that they will be welcomed by many who either feel vulnerable using our roads or live on roads that will be positively impacted by a reduction in speed.'
In the decision notice, the Committee also explains its approach to assessing speed limits. The 'safe system approach', which is endorsed by the OECD and the World Health Organisation, uses a holistic view of the road transport system and the interactions between road users, roads and roadsides, vehicles and travel speeds. It is a robustly evidence-based approach that uses data, research and evaluation to substantiate its recommendations.
The changes outlined in the proposal will come into effect later this year, once the necessary regulation amending the Road Traffic (Speed Limits and Trials) Ordinance, 1987 has been prepared and published and following the introduction of the new poles and signage.