20’s Plenty Sandford
This is the campaign webpage for Sandford 20’s Plenty for Us, which was set up in response to the traffic situation in Sandford, and the expected substantial increase in traffic over the next few years, with the large number of housing developments in the area, and the Banwell Bypass. ’20’s Plenty’ is a national campaign to bring 30mph limits down to 20 mph limits, which has been proved to have many benefits including safer streets for all, particularly children, the disabled and elderly, less intimidation from speeding traffic for all road users, including walkers and cyclists, reducing vehicle emissions and noise, and helping cut transport emissions contributing to climate change.
20 mph areas- a national improvement
Over 21 million people in the UK currently live in 20 mph limit areas, which are found to be successful and even more popular after they are brought in. Bristol and BANES Councils, our close neighbours, have voted to bring in default 20 mph speed limits for their neighbourhoods, and many more throughout the UK.
The UK government signed up to the United Nations Stockholm Declaration on Road Safety in 2020, which means that the UK, supports 20 mph ( 30 kmph) as the default speed limit, to save lives and serious injuries from road traffic collisions. Government guidance from the Department of Transport and Public Health England also supports 20 mph, but it is up to the local Highways Authorities to pay for and bring in more 20 mph areas for residential streets across their county.
20 mph areas for North Somerset?
Currently, North Somerset Council as our Highway Authority does not have a policy covering 20 mph areas, as their draft policy, which rules out 20 mph limits, is under review. Some existing traffic schemes incorporate short 20 mph zones. Recently, government funding has been used recently to put in more 20 mph zones, for example using active travel emergency Covid-19 funding.
County wide 20 mph residential streets are many years off, if current practice continues. North Somerset Council practice is to ask towns and villages to apply and pay for individual traffic schemes, which are usually heavily engineered, for example with bumps, and which may include a short stretch of road as a 20mph zone. Government guidance is for 20 mph areas to cover all roads, A and B roads, but in North Somerset the busy main roads are often left out of traffic schemes. These mixed speed traffic schemes are expensive. On their own, 20 mph zones cost around £60,000 ( 20 mph limits cost around £1,100 per km) . North Somerset villages often find they have schemes which do not cover all the roads they want dealt with. There is also a waiting list of 4-5 years, as there is a considerable backlog of communities waiting for their road safety scheme.
A mixed traffic speed scheme, with 20 mph zones, for Sandford and Winscombe? A North Somerset Council Highways traffic scheme will be far too late for Sandford
At the moment Winscombe and Sandford Parish Council are consulting on whether or not to sign up for a traffic scheme with North Somerset Council to reduce speeds through the parish. Even if a decision is taken to go ahead after July, it would not be until the end of 2025 at the earliest, before Highways could put a scheme in place.
For Sandford, that is far too late.
The Banwell Bypass impact, due by 2024
The Banwell Bypass, with traffic from probably over 2,000 new houses to be built near Banwell, is due to be built by 2024. Instead of building in a bypass around Sandford and Winscombe, the plans focus on a roundabout between Banwell and Sandford, which feeds most of the traffic along the A368 through Sandford, with some travelling via the A371 through Winscombe . There will be a massive increase in traffic, which threatens to sever our village, greatly increasing pollution and noise near our homes, working against people walking and cycling and enjoying village life, and increasing commuting by car. The pandemic and lockdown had a good effect on traffic flow through Sandford, but it’s building up again.
Why bringing in wide-area 20 mph limits for all residential streets in North Somerset would work
Wide -area 20 mph limits for residential streets are proven to be successful and popular in other local authority areas. Over 21 million people live in 20 mph limit areas. 20 mph limits are much cheaper at around £1,100 per km to put in, and much quicker to put in place, with signage and other measures, but not engineering.
Driver education, and community engagement, are the ways other Highways Authorities who put in wide-area 20 mph limit schemes make those schemes successful, as well as being much cheaper. Another reason for avoiding mixed speed traffic schemes with short 20 mph zones is given in Government guidance that speed limits should be at least 600m in length, to avoid confusing changes of speed limits for motorists. Very short speed limits, changing frequently through residential streets, are less likely to be obeyed by motorists. This has a negative outcome for reducing speeds, and for the road safety of residents in those mix-speed traffic scheme areas.
Will a change in North Somerset policy, bringing in 20 mph limits for Sandford’s residential streets, happen in time to mitigate the Banwell Bypass impact on Sandford, and also Winscombe and Churchill?
A public push-back against the Council’s Quiet Lanes scheme across Kenn Moor made the Council withdraw the Quiet Lanes scheme and the Active Travel Strategy in April, for consideration and review. Council policy on bringing in 20 mph areas to encourage walking and cycling has been waiting to be processed since January 2020, and hopefully that will also be considered and reviewed.
If the Council decides to take a holistic view on road safety and reducing traffic speeds to help their active travel and climate emergency ambitions, it makes sense to bring in better consultation and community engagement to make sure the majority of people are in favour, and that targets can be met by 2030.
If there is enough support from communities, Councillors and the Leader of the Council, wide-area 20 mph limits could be brought in before 2024, benefiting all communities, not just those who have the money and a proactive Parish or Town Council to pay for an individual scheme..
Other local authorities have found the funding,
Applying for the Banwell Bypass mitigation Sandford needs from the Housing Infrastructure Fund funding .
It is essential that there is provision in the Banwell Bypass plans for mitigation for Sandford and the other villages affected by the new road traffic. Residents supporting Banwell Bypass Working Group members will speak up for this. Planning and funding road safety improvements for Sandford can include 20 mph limits.
Sandford’s 20s Plenty campaign
The Sandford residents’ campaign can be seen by any motorist driving through the village, from the ’20’s Plenty Where People Live’ stickers on wheelie bins and on signposts outside people’s homes, and also the banner displayed at Sandford Primary School, all of which are a reminder to motorists that they are driving through a village where people live, walk and cycle, and children play, and need to keep their speed down.
Sandford motorists are driving at speeds around 20 mph, as ‘pacer’ vehicles, to encourage others to do the same. Sandford’s ‘ 20’s Plenty for Us’ leaflet is below, please take a look.
Join the campaign! Encourage our schools and parent groups to get involved, send in your name and email to email@example.com to be kept updated, and join the North Somerset 20’s Plenty Facebook group group:https://www.facebook.com/groups/1404083953292592/
20’s Plenty now have nearly 500 local campaigns around the country, including Sandford and Churchill in North Somerset. There is now a North Somerset 20’s Plenty for Us Facebook Group for all North Somerset 20’s Plenty supporters, whether or not they are part of a local group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1404083953292592
Banwell Bypass presentation
North Somerset Council Major Projects team gave this Banwell Bypass presentation at the Parish Assembly on 12th April.
Sandford 20’s Plenty For Us Presentation to Winscombe and Sandford Parish Assembly April 2021
For the full presentation slides, click here: