Residents of Herefordshire have shown mixed reactions to Wales’ recent introduction of a 20mph speed limit in residential zones. This change, rolled-out on Sunday, September 17, has spurred discussions in both Wales and Herefordshire. While many resist the shift, others see its potential advantages.
A national YouGov survey found that 48 per cent lean towards the speed limit revision, while 39 per cent stand against it.
According to a Hereford Times poll from September 13, a significant portion of the readership opposes the change. Of about 400 votes cast by midday, 270 rejected the new speed limit, compared to 125 who supported it. One reader described the initiative as a “stupid idea”, noting, “it may cause fewer injuries but will result in more accidents as people will constantly be checking their speedometers.” Bunkerhill expressed strong disapproval, emphasising the rarity of pedestrian fatalities in Herefordshire. Conversely, Stevey Steve and Stan Laurel advocated for the speed reduction, citing concerns about reckless driving and the potential for reduced pollution.
The Herefordshire Council has remained silent on the issue, even when probed about their take on the matter, a topic raised by councillors more than three years ago.
Last year, Herefordshire Council designated £1.2 million for the establishment of 20mph zones across Hereford and nearby towns. The council also sanctioned funds for other initiatives, including enhancing transport and infrastructure. Officials believe that this speed reduction could significantly enhance road safety in the region.
Councillor Harrington has previously discussed plans for transport reforms in Hereford, believing that the reduced speed would further ensure road safety. The council is contemplating the introduction of a 20mph limit in certain Hereford zones, hoping to transition from vehicle-focused roads to pedestrian-friendly streets.
There’s a potential shift in bus prioritisation on key Hereford city routes, dependent on central government funding. The council’s vision encompasses new bus lanes, upgraded cycling paths, a modern transport hub, and the discussed 20mph zones, with a bid for £46 million in funding for various projects.
Despite prevailing negative feedback, some underlying support exists for the speed limit in residential areas. With many English and Welsh communities already having embraced the 20mph limit, wider acceptance in Herefordshire could be on the horizon. Tom Harwood, a journalist, champions the policy, presenting evidence from Hull and London and emphasising its benefits for air quality and promoting active lifestyles.