The Conservative Medway Council cabinet this week unanimously voted against a proposal to implement a 20mph zone pilot scheme in Medway, aiming to reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our roads.

The proposal, instigated by the Medway Labour Group and agreed with cross-party support at January’s Regeneration Overview and Scrutiny Committee, called for using existing capital funds to implement a 20mph neighbourhood-wide pilot zone. This would have covered a fixed area, ideally including a school, in order to measure it’s impact across a whole community.

The Medway Labour and Co-operative Group have raised the benefits of 20mph zones on numerous occasions over the past year, with cases of road-traffic accident injuries all too prevalent. Last year, Cllr Stephen Hubbard worked alongside Strood residents petitioning the Council to implement a 20mph traffic control zone in Central Strood. Earlier this year Cllr Harinder Mahil asked a question at full council on the progress of road safety techniques implemented in Medway, with particular reference to 20mph speed zones.

Cllr Stephen Hubbard said that, ‘I’m really disappointed to see the Cabinet reject this common-sense approach to traffic control in central Strood. There is a clear issue on our roads with rat-running and a serious risk to injury that needs to be addressed.’

Cllr Harinder Mahil said that, ‘It’s a real shame that the council have rejected this pilot scheme proposal. The latter part of 2020 saw numerous road traffic accidents on our roads, with a particularly devastating period in August seeing three fatal road traffic accidents in a two week period. I witnessed an incident outside Holcombe Grammar School a few years ago where a child was seriously injured, and again earlier this year there was an incident in the same spot.

‘There is a clear need for schemes like the 20mph pilot, and these tools are at our disposal. It’s sad to see the Conservative Cabinet vote against this.’

Cllr Andy Stamp, Medway Labour and Co-operative Group’s Spokesperson for Regeneration and Communities said that, ‘I’m really disappointed to see the Cabinet reject this proposal, particularly after the encouraging cross-party agreement at committee level.

‘20mph zones are a brilliant and cost-effective tool at our disposal to make our roads safer, without the need for expensive engineering solutions.

‘Unfortunately, we have seen many examples in the past year alone of injuries on our roads – and the simple fact of the matter is that if you are five times less likely to die if you’re hit at 20mph than if you’re hit at 30mph.

‘The Medway Labour and Co-operative Group will continue to push for an evidence-based approach to road safety, and lobby the council wherever possible to make our roads safer.’

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