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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Speech to Full Council: A Vision for Better Transport in Sheffield with Labour

*** Below is a copy of my remarks to the recent Full Council meeting, where I led Labour’s call for proper investment in Northern transport and infrastructure. Check against delivery ***
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Once again, the Tory government is letting the people of Sheffield down and taking us for a ride. 

The cancellation of electrification means passengers in Sheffield will be denied the faster, greener, more reliable train journeys we were promised. The London-centric Tories do not act in the interests of the whole UK. They have put their own survival ahead of everything else, finding £1 billion for a deal with the DUP, and it’s communities like ours in South Yorkshire that are paying the price.

The Tories are trying to pull the wool over people’s eyes by claiming that diesel bi-mode trains will deliver the same benefits as electrification, despite saying for years that failure to electrify the network will cause 20% more CO2, worsen air quality, lessen capacity and make services slower and less reliable AND more costly to maintain. The Tory spin isn’t fooling anyone.

It is absurd that it takes longer to travel by train from Liverpool to Hull than from London to Paris, yet the government spend £1500 more per head in London than the North.

But rather than addressing these disparities, the Conservatives are abandoning the North.

We need a different government, with a different vision. So not only will Labour deliver the promised electrification, Labour will nationalise franchises as they expire, Labour will invest £10bn to build a new Crossrail for the North and expand the rail network in order to drive economic growth and rebalance our economy for the many not the few.

I’d like to finish on a slightly more positive note and talk about HS2 and HS3. I’m pleased to see the Liberal Democrats are grudgingly welcoming the progress Labour has secured for city centre location, despite Nick Clegg’s view that it should be in Meadowhall. Many people said that a city-centre location would never happen, never be agreed and never be in the plan. They were all proved wrong.

This administration is focused, determined and succeeding in delivering HS2 in the best possible place for Sheffield and South Yorkshire. This is the result of the strong, determined leadership of our Leader Julie Dore, me and Labour.

Finally, Lord Mayor, this isn’t just about being Sheffield. Investment in transport is essential to rebalancing the economy and boosting growth and creating opportunities for all.

So Sheffield has the Council that it needs but Britain doesn’t have the government that it deserves. The sooner this dishonourable, discredited and dysfunctional government is put out of its misery – the better. Thank you very much.

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Sheffield Hallam Hustings 2017

I stood in for the brilliant Jared O’Mara at one of the hustings in Sheffield Hallam.

It was an important opportunity to hold Nick Clegg to account for his votes and actions.

 

As almost every visitor to this site will be aware, Jared went on to beat Nick Clegg and become Labour’s first ever MP in Sheffield Hallam. I know he will do an amazing job.

I hope this video is of interest.

 

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.

100 Days to Go

In 100 days, the people of Abourthorne, Gleadless Townend, Heeley and Norfolk Park (indeed all of Sheffield) have a big choice to make.

The whole Council – all 84 seats – will be elected anew. Every voter will have three votes for the Council. (From these 84 Councillors, a Leader and Cabinet will be chosen. I will have more to say about the challenges facing Sheffield as a whole in future posts.)

Every elector will also have a vote on another ballot paper for South Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner.

I’m both very proud and extremely humbled to have been chosen by local Labour members as one of the candidates for the newly named Park and Arbourthorne Ward. Other than the name, this ward is essentially identical to the existing “Arbourthorne Ward” that I’ve represented since 2010.

Across the community, I can see the big, positive differences that we have made together – committed local residents, working with passionate and effective Councillors as part of a Council that is in-touch and committed to improving our communities:

The building – finally – of new social housing around Errington and Algar roads, even though the Government stole all the regeneration money that was meant to fund this vital project.

Working with existing local residents as we build brand new homes in Norfolk Park – with many many more to come in the next year.

The playground that we managed to get built on East Bank Road when everybody said there was no money and the improvements we’re pushing for to the community pond on Eastern Avenue.

Fighting to secure the big building project that’s underway at the moment at Gleadless Primary School and the new after school club that we are about to build at Norfolk Park Community Primary School.

For me, being a Councillor is about being proactive and available, building strong partnerships with community groups and always standing up for your constituents. As a local Councillor, I am passionate about bringing people together, with a vision for the future of our area and I’m assertive in standing up to this government and its unfairness.

But there are big challenges too and I see that every day, as poverty and inequality increase. The cruel cuts and deliberate ideology of the government have had a far greater impact on our community than on many others over the last six years – both in terms of people’s income and also the public services they rely on.

And almost every day, I help constituents affected by welfare cuts, petty bureaucracy and really vicious sanctions. These are increasing poverty and making daily life more of a struggle. It’s likely that over the next five years this government will attempt to impose even more hardship on residents in Arbourthorne.

So that means we need to do even more in the coming months. Jeremy Corbyn’s election as Leader has brought a renewed energy and sharper focus to Labour’s campaigning, especially in Sheffield. Membership in the Park and Arbourthorne ward has more than doubled and there is a renewed sense of outrage, determination and action.

Day in, day out, being a good Councillor is a 24/7 job and it is a huge privilege to stand up for people who need your help and to contribute to making our unique community even better.

I am proud to be a candidate in this election and stand for Labour in Sheffield. My passion and determination and energy for this community and its people is as strong as it has ever been. This is what I will be offering the people of Park and Arbourthorne in the coming 100 days and – hopefully – beyond.

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