2015 – 035 The 20 mph speed limit nonsense,

From: Brian Marks
Subject: 20 MPH In Stroud
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 2015 10:06:30 +0000

Dear Idris

I have been studying your website over the last week or so as we have recently had a 20 MPH zone introduced in Stroud by a “Green Party” Councillor, Sarah Lunnon who was given £10k to spend on roads “for the wider good of the community” and decided that what we needed in a town in the heart of 5 valleys and subsequently big hills, was a speed limit that I suspect is more about political dogma than road safety.

Studying the RTO (copy attached) there are many flaws and it turns out the average speed across the roads surveyed prior to implementation was only 23.7 MPH so motorists were pretty much self regulating. Even the chap at Gloucestershire County Council has stated in an e-mail to me that they have a “growing body of evidence that 20 MPH doesn’t work without traffic calming” and “drivers in areas where 20 MPH already exists don’t change their driving behaviour or habits with 20 MPH alone”. Which I believe is a view supported by The AA & Institute Of Advanced Motorists.

A few of us that don’t see the need for 20 MPH in Stroud for a “Blanket 20 MPH” have a meeting with the local councilor and pro 20 MPH guy (Charles Pedrick) tomorrow evening and I was wondering if you have any specific information from your vault of what must be thousands of hours work and research which may be useful for us to argue against the blanket 20 MPH. We can see the benefit of it around schools at certain times etc, however a blanket 20 MPH seems ridiculous.

Any information you have would be gratefully received.


Brian Marks

Thanks, well done. I concetrate mostly on speed cameras and can now prove conclusively that they do not cut accidents, all the data I have on 20mph is on my site.

OK if I circulate your email to others who believe, with some evidence, that 20mph achieves nothing except to give pedestrians and cyclists a false sense of security, that makes them careless and leads to accidents

The DfT have granted contracts to 2 companies and 1 Professor, with whom I am in touch, to evaluate the data over the NEXT 3 YEARS! This is madness as the data already exists and the work could be done in 3 months!
I am uttely confident that the result will be somewhere between zero effect and a not insignificant adverse effect.

If you have read my web site correspondence with Portsmouth you will know that those who drove their project had not the faintest understanding of what they were doing, and some were undoubtedly doing it for electoral reasons – ie to be “seen to be doing something”.

Other Councils calll for “a six month trial” – what on earth do they think they will find, in one small area over a few months, that is not already a matter of record in all the areas this madness has already encroached on?

The people driving this are not analysts but quasi-religious maniacs immune to evidence or facts..

Any particular questions, please ask. Incidentally, I know Stroud well, a good friend ran a sports and model shop there for years and I used to stay with him regularly when passing that way, though he is now in the Isle of Wight. And my late father, who lived near Neath, used to stay there in the 1920’s

Idris Francis

From: “Brian Marks”
To: “‘Idris Francis'”
Subject: RE: 20 MPH In Stroud
Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2015 19:47:32 -0000

Hi Idris

Thanks for your reply; please feel free to share my email with others any help to fight against this wave of ineffective road safety is greatly appreciated. I also attach a link to the petition I set up for some small scale opposition. It was interesting that a local “pro 20 petition” organiser declined an invite to come and debate the issue with us last night which is typical…..but then he did state in a local press interview that he “only occasionally drives a car” which, again, is typical of somebody who doesn’t understand the issue but thinks he can dictate what others should do.


I used your e-mail from the Portsmouth 20 MPH excerpt last night however there are two local Councillors (Charles Pedrick and Sarah Lunnon) who hold everything Rod King says in such high regard it is almost like they are hooked on his every word and can’t see past the fact that his role in the “20 is Plenty” hierarchy hardly makes him an unbiased point of reference.

We tried to explain last night that relying on statistics/facts from Rod King (head of 20 is Plenty) is a bit like asking Cllr Lunnon (Green Party) to agree with George Osborne’s budget last week. We need to address the fact that people do not change their driving habits/behaviour in blanket 20 MPH zones and this comes from The AA, The Institute Of Advanced Motorists and even the chap who wrote the report from Gloucestershire County Council.
We argued that for any Road Safety scheme to be effective, it has to engage the public, have their respect, address all road users and be balanced. To do this, there needs to be much better public consultation, and I would argue that options are given to areas rather than an order along the lines of “have your medicine, it’s good for you”. There is no value in a Road Safety scheme in areas where drivers are already predominantly self regulating their speeds, especially if it’s a scheme that isn’t fit for purpose as it will cost tens of thousands and achieve little.

The positive thing to come out of last night was that both sides want effective road safety, we are just at odds as to how best achieve this so as it does what it needs to rather than what somebody’s political and social ideology leads them towards. We plan to meet again after the election so I will keep you up to speed with developments. Also, I think that it has made it abundantly clear that they probably won’t be able to covertly implement this type of scheme again….which is incidentally how the “20 is Plenty” propaganda suggests to a greater degree that they do.

It’s a small world with you knowing Stroud. Would that have been “Alderwicks” back in the day which is where I used to frequent with any pocket/birthday money that I was fortunate enough to receive.

Thanks again for taking an interest.



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