By Anna Whittaker, Local Democracy Reporter
A proposal to introduce 20mph speed limits on some Nottinghamshire roads has moved a step closer.
Councillors supported plans to look at the idea of reducing speed limits in the county because the authority believes it will bring “significant health and safety benefits to the public”.
During a full council meeting on January 20, councillors voted unanimously in favour of a motion which resolved to task the Transport and Environment Committee with “exploring the feasibility” of implementing a 20mph speed limit on some residential roads.
In a heated debate, Councillor Jason Zadrozny accused the leading Conservative group of having “blood on your hands” after a resident in Skegby died after being hit by a car.
Councillor Matt Barney (Con) responded with a speech describing how he was first on the scene to a hit and run where a man died in Sutton Bonnington.
He said: “I tried to save his life. I spent half an hour trying to resuscitate him, I got covered in his blood. So please do not insinuate that any member, regardless of their political colour, doesn’t care wholeheartedly about this issue.”
It came after the Ashfield Independents brought forward an amendment to the motion to acknowledge that the enforcement of speed restrictions is “poor” and that policing is stretched in the county.
The motion was criticised and voted against by 47 councillors.
Councillor Tom Hollis (Ashfield Ind), who put forward the amendment, said the motion was like “providing a lovely hot meal to somebody and not giving them a knife and fork”.
Councillor Penny Gowland (Lab), who proposed the original motion, said during the meeting: “If an accident happens and someone is going too fast, they are much more likely to injure somebody or kill them.
“The county has a target of reducing casualties by 40 per cent by 2030, this is a concrete way to achieve that.
“We know the fear of accidents traps people in their homes, reduces socialisation and reduces physical activity.
“Fast cars are very invasive, we notice them on the road. Being a councillor has shown me that the vast majority of people are sensible and thoughtful.
“Most people want speed limits enforced. Twenty is plenty and I am really grateful this has cross party support.”
Councillor Neil Clarke (Con), Chairman of the Transport and Environment Committee, seconded the motion and added: “Road safety belongs to us all.
“We need to look very carefully at the full range of evidence supporting and opposing any changes, where such measures may or may not be suitable, how much any such measures will cost the taxpayer to implement and maintain, the enforceability and credibility of any such proposals bearing in mind the pressures on this authority.
“We need to take into account the opinions of the public, be they vehicle users or pedestrians. We need broad public consensus for any such measures to be effective, and we need to consult with the police as well.”
Councillor Steve Carr (Lib Dem) said: “My experience of the 20mph speed limit is in the Wollaton area, where it is not enforced at all.
“People just do whatever speed they want.”
John Wilmott (Ashfield Ind) told the council chamber that a fatality had taken place in his constituency.
He added: “Something has to be done. We can start with a speed limit of 20mph on our residential roads, outside all schools and near where children are playing.”
The plans will now be examined by the Transport and Environment Committee.