New 20 Miles Per Hour Zone in Sheffield City Centre

Sheffield City Council will introduce a 20mph speed limit in the city centre following strong public backing to the recent consultation.

 

Sheffield drivers to face 20mph city centre speed limit from Sheffield Live on Vimeo.

A 20mph speed will now be rolled out before the end of the year on hundreds of streets in Sheffield city centre in a bid to make roads safer, better for pedestrians and cyclists and to improve air quality. The consultation sought public feedback on Council plans to provide a new speeding zone on more than 300 roads in the middle of the city, encompassing nearly every street apart from a few major thoroughfares such as Arundel Gate, Derek Dooley Way and Sheaf Street.

The Council is also making plans for additional improvements to tackle congestion on the inner ring-road.

Over the recent months the city centre has witnessed an increasing number of traffic accidents and this is something the Council clearly wanted to address. It is hoped that reducing the speed of traffic in residential areas will, in the long term, reduce the number and severity of accidents. This should also reduce the fear that accidents will take place, thereby, likely to lead to more sustainable modes of travel such as cycling being adopted – resulting in a more cohesive environment overall.

Since Labour were elected to run Sheffield City Council in 2011 a series of measures have been undertaken to achieve their aim of establishing 20mph as the maximum speed for residential areas throughout Sheffield. The restriction has already been introduced with great success in areas such as Darnall, Gleadless Valley, Heeley and Stannington and now the city centre is to follow.

Labour Councillor for City Ward, Moya O’Rourke, was elected in 2015 and after many conversations with local residents it became apparent that there was an overwhelming majority who backed the plans: “Since my election I made a promise to the ward that I would make our city centre roads safer and more environmentally friendly – and I have been pushing for 20 mph zones in the centre to do just that.

“I’m delighted that so many residents in my ward contributed to the council’s public consultation. There is no way this policy would have got off the ground if there wasn’t such a strong will to make it happen by Labour councillors. It’s quite odd that the Sheffield’s Green Party are always trying to claim credit for the policy as, quite frankly, their involvement and relevance to this has been zero”.

Councillor Jack Scott, Cabinet Member for Transport and Infrastructure at Sheffield City Council, said:

“Anyone who’s been in our city centre recently will have seen that it is growing rapidly and for the better, with cranes, new shops and new developments. It needs to be a place where safety and sustainable travel are actively supported and encouraged.

“I’m pleased that the consultation was received so positively. This Labour Council is absolutely determined to improve road safety throughout the city and 20mph zones play a big role in this. Not only do speeds reduce in these areas, there’s a reduction in the severity of the accidents and an improvement in air quality”.

Councillor Scott also acknowledged that some submissions to the consultation questioned the effect of the speeding zones on air pollution.

In response Councillor Scott said: “I am aware of concerns that travelling at 20mph could negatively affect air quality. However, the evidence actually shows that at a constant lower speed a driver will use less fuel, and safer roads should mean more people taking up walking and cycling instead. I am absolutely committed to improving safety on our roads and taking real action to improve Sheffield’s air quality. Pleasingly, this measure should help in both of these respects in City Ward”.

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Air Quality Interview – Sheffield Live Video

Council condemns government plan on vehicle pollution from Sheffield Live on Vimeo.

Air Quality Interview – BBC Radio Sheffield

I was interviewed by Radio Sheffield on the government’s shabby, shoddy, weak and wobbly announcements on Air Quality.

You can listen to the interview below.

Emissions Scandal

Last year I gave evidence to Parliament on the issue of air quality, where we covered the methods car manufacturers use to mask poor air emissions.

This is a truly global scandal. I believe literally millions of customers across continents have been ripped off – I would go as far as to call it the “PPI sandal” of the car industry.

You can see my evidence to the House of Commons committee below – I start at 15:09 – just after Boris Johnson!

Click Here to see the evidence.

The full report is here – which talks at length about the need for a proper testing regime, agreed international standards and the need for real world testing, not just lab trials.

Addressing Sheffield Air Quality Conference

I recently addressed the Sheffield Air Quality Conference, organised by the excellent East End Quality of Live Initiative.

Let me know what you think.

 

Launching Air Aware Campaign for Sheffield

A new campaign has been launched in Sheffield this week to raise awareness about air pollution.

The “Air Aware in Sheffield” campaign aims to inform members of the public about the different types of air pollution and the health risks associated with them, as well as giving people information on what they can do to help reduce air pollution in the city.

It is also intended that Air Aware in Sheffield, which will primarily focus on the biggest single source of air pollution – road traffic – will act as a platform to spark debate about air quality.

Councillor Jack Scott, cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene at Sheffield City Council, said: “The key point here is that small changes can really reduce air pollution and enable better health for all.

“Air quality is an absolutely vital issue for all of us here in Sheffield. Regardless of where people live in the city, or whether they are drivers, cyclists, walkers or bus users, each and every one of us can play an important part.

“We’re not telling people to give up their vehicles – but what we are saying is if you have to drive, think about driving low emission vehicles such as gas, electric or hybrid cars or petrol cars instead of diesel. Also try ‘eco-driving’ techniques and think about ‘car sharing’, both of which will save you money on fuel, as well reducing emissions and improving air quality.

“It would be great if everybody could use their cars a little less, and cycle or walk a little more. Even giving up the car just one day a week would make a huge difference.”

The campaign aims to raise particular awareness about two air pollutants; nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and fine particulate matter (PM10), which mainly come from road traffic.

Poor air quality has been estimated to account for up to 500 premature deaths per year in Sheffield, with health costs of around £160m per year. It has short and long-term health impacts, particularly for respiratory and cardiovascular health.

Those people who are particularly sensitive and are exposed to the highest levels of pollution have an estimated reduction in life expectancy by as much as nine years.

Like many other major UK cities, in some parts of Sheffield both national and European Union health based thresholds for air quality are currently being breached.

A lot of work is already being done to try and address this problem. This includes working with local community action groups across the city involved in campaigning for cleaner air, working to our Air Quality Action Plan and developing plans to implement a Low Emission Zone Strategy in Sheffield by working with partners such as the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), local bus operators, local taxi operators and local commercial fleet operators to reduce emissions.

However, the support of each and every person in the city would go a huge way to helping Sheffield achieve its goal of reducing nitrogen dioxide and fine particulate pollution, to improve the health of local people and comply with regulations.

Cllr Scott added: “A modern, vibrant city needs to have a high-quality environment, including cleaner air and cleaner transport, for the benefit of local people and also in order to attract people to the city for work or leisure.

“Sheffield aspires to be a city where health inequalities are reduced and air is healthy for all to breathe.”

A bus advertising campaign, which is part of Air Aware in Sheffield, has already been launched, with adverts on the back of eco-friendly hybrid vehicles. Radio advertising and poster campaigns will begin in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, dedicated Twitter and Facebook sites are also being set up so that people can find out more and get involved. Find them at www.facebook.com/airawaresheffield and @AirAwareSheff

For further information visit the new website at www.sheffield.gov.uk/airaware