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Permanent 20mph speed limit introduced across Faversham following trial

A permanent 20mph speed limit has been implemented across Faversham following a 17-month trial.

The speed cap was tested out across the town on an experimental basis from September 2020, following a five-year ‘20’s Plenty’ campaign to get council bosses to back the initiative.

20's Plenty campaigners in Faversham
20's Plenty campaigners in Faversham

But following a consultation that found more than 60% of respondents approved of the new limit, it has now been rolled out permanently.

The decision was made by Swale Borough Council’s Joint Transportation Board, following a consultation that saw leaflets distributed to more than 11,000 homes and businesses.

A total of 668 people responded to the survey.

Of them, 63% supported the 20mph zone being made permanent while 37% objected, with concerns ranging from public safety to the opinion 20mph is too slow for certain streets.

Seven in 10 respondents acknowledged the lower limit would make Faversham safer, while the majority also felt it would make the town a cleaner and more healthy place.

FAVERSHAM 20 ZONE 2019 (54935658)
FAVERSHAM 20 ZONE 2019 (54935658)

The new permanent limit came into effect on February 11.

Kent County Council says it hopes it will encourage walking and cycling, reduce danger to pedestrians and drivers, and improve areas through which roads run.

Faversham town councillor Eddie Thomas, chair of the authority’s 20mph Working Group, says he is “very pleased” by the move.

“The local community 20’s Plenty group in Faversham started campaigning for a 20mph limit back in 2015,” he said.

“Their work convinced Faversham town councillors to join their campaign and town councillors were elected in 2019 with support for a 20mph limit across Faversham on their manifestos.

Cllr Eddie Thomas
Cllr Eddie Thomas

“This news now means that we can focus on enhancing the benefits of 20mph.

“When the speed limit is 20mph more people feel safer walking and cycling, which is both a physical, and mental health benefit.

“Slower traffic means the air is cleaner as there is less over-revving of engines and less heavy braking, hence fewer particulates emitted into the air.”

Some residents have expressed concerns the new limit will be difficult to enforce due to a lack of speed cameras.

On Facebook, one commenter said: “So, will someone now start to police it? Practically nobody observes it so without policing, what is the point?”

“From a town council perspective, we have never expected the adoption of a 20mph limit to be the end of the process to make Faversham a safer, healthier and cleaner town."

Another said: “As if anyone adheres to it! Need speed cameras because not much else works.”

Responding to the concerns, Cllr Thomas said: “I would advise anyone who witnesses careless or dangerous driving to report the matter to the police on the Kent Police website.

“I personally have reported speeding traffic and the police informed me that they have conducted random speed checks in that area.

“From a town council perspective, we have never expected the adoption of a 20mph limit to be the end of the process to make Faversham a safer, healthier and cleaner town.

“There are numerous street improvements that we have prepared and would like to gain KCC approval to implement.

“Many of these involve creating safe places for pedestrians to cross the street and these improvements are a visual reminder for drivers that they are in a 20mph limit.

“The recent changes to the highway code also show that as a country we are moving towards encouraging slower moving traffic and promoting walking and cycling.

“I am also keen to relaunch Faversham Speed Watch, that operates via Faversham Town Council.

“This is a volunteer group that highlights to drivers the speed that they are travelling at.”

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