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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£18m investment speeds up Sheffield buses

A £18.3 million investment to speed up Sheffield bus routes and cut congestion has seen some city journey times slashed by up to 25 per cent.

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Highway improvements on key bus routes – including smarter signal controls, new bus lanes, junction upgrades, road widening and more cameras to better monitor the flow of traffic – in the city centre, north Sheffield, Gleadless, Meadowhead and on Penistone Road have also seen bus punctuality improvements of up to three per cent.

The work, designed to give buses priority and improve traffic management across Sheffield’s 187 bus routes, is part of the UK’s first designated ‘Better Bus Area’ scheme, delivered by Sheffield Bus Partnership since 2013 and funded by the Department for Transport.

Benefiting up to 55 million passengers a year, it combines money previously paid directly to bus operators with a Government grant, allowing the Partnership – made up of South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE), Sheffield City Council and local bus companies – to work together to improve bus journey times to provide regular and reliable services.

Sheffield City Council Cabinet Member for Transport and Sustainability, Councillor Jack Scott, said: “Public transport is key to helping people travel in and around Sheffield, and a good quality bus service is vital in offering people choices in how they travel, and helping the City Council manage traffic congestion.

“We all want more jobs and homes provided for people, and the Better Buses Programme has made major contributions to improving conditions on our main roads – for buses and for car drivers, by making a series of highway improvements that benefit everyone.”

SYPTE Director of Public Transport, Ben Gilligan, said: “Buses are a vital public service and an effective bus network is an essential part of a vibrant economy – linking people to jobs, education, shops and leisure. Through the Better Bus Area scheme, Sheffield Bus Partnership is helping transport to move more efficiently on key city corridors, and in turn improving bus satisfaction and increasing passenger numbers to reduce carbon emissions and congestion for everyone.”

Co-location of bus operator and Council staff at the city’s Urban Traffic Control Centre, a move made possible through the scheme, also means information sharing and the ability to minimise disruption caused by road incidents is greatly improved.

Future improvements delivered by the five-year Better Bus Area scheme, which concludes in March 2018, include widening Chesterfield Road at Heeley and further improvements on the Barnsley Road Corridor.

Kevin Belfield, Managing Director of First South Yorkshire, said: “We’re pleased with the latest results, which show that bus journey times are being reduced, however it’s important that we don’t become complacent, as what really matters to our customers is our ability to run services punctually. We welcome the continued work to improve road infrastructure for public transport in Sheffield.”

Matt Davies, Managing Director of Stagecoach Yorkshire, added: “We welcome these results and are really pleased to see investment and improvements are helping to deliver benefits for passengers and contributing to a more efficient and attractive city transport network.

“However, improvements in journey time can easily be offset by increasing traffic levels and congestion which means that we must continue to keep up the momentum. Focusing on improving bus journey times is now even more essential than ever.”

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Driving Forward: Better Buses for Sheffield

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