The 20mph zones do work

Linden Rd, Hebden Bridge.

I WAS happy to see last week's article about the possible 20mph zone in Todmorden.

I've been surprised by some of the opposition to 20mph zones, especially since we've had ours in Hebden Bridge. I also sympathise with Mr Kershaw's frustration over poor reinforcement of these zones, but I disagree that they are a 'waste of time'.

The Health Development Agency has shown conclusively that 20 mph zones reduce accidents, and especially for children. Contrary to what many people think, you don't get an increase in accidents on other roads. See the Department for Transport website www.dft.gov.uk

It's early days in Hebden Bridge, but the council's figures show that there have been 25 per cent fewer accidents since we've had our nice 20 mph zone, which seems pretty good to me.

A German study (Hass-Klau 1990) found that drivers used their gears and brakes less, and 12 per cent less petrol, when 30 kph (that's 19 mph) zones came in. So drivers get some benefit too, believe it or not! The zones are saving an estimated 20 million in London alone, in the form of accidents avoided. In contrast, the cost of 20 mph zones is around 3-400 per street.

Most of us want these zones! The National Centre for Social Research did a study which found that 74 per cent of people - and 72 per cent of drivers - are in favour of them. We Greens don't consider 20 mph zones to be the whole answer. We also want fewer HGVs, better public transport and other measures.

Nye Bevan used to say "This is my Truth, tell me yours". There are some inconvenient truths to face if we're going to fight climate change and live greener lives. This one's a piece of cake because we all stand to benefit!

KATE SWEENY

Green Party Parliamentary Candidate, Calder Valley