Pay attention Mr Leech! Manchester council blast MP for claims of ‘heel dragging’ on default 20mph speed limits

Exclusive by Sam Ruffe

A default 20mph speed limit in Manchester’s residential areas is on the horizon according to the council – and they have hit back angrily at suggestions they are ‘dragging their heels’.

Liberal Democrat MP John Leech launched a scathing attack this week urging Manchester City Council to ‘stop the delays and start saving lives’.

But the council has countered Mr Leech’s claim, and insists, despite a lack of government aid, that plans for the reduced limits are moving forward.

Councillor Bernard Priest, executive member for neighbourhood services at Manchester City Council, said: “It is totally wrong to suggest that we have not acted on the motion approved by council about introducing more 20mph zones.

“In fact if Mr Leech had been paying attention he would have noticed that, despite his government not providing any funding towards this goal, we will be taking a report setting out exactly what we’re doing to the council’s Executive meeting on 29 May.” 

Road safety pressure group 20’s Plenty for Us actively campaigns for a blanket 20mph speed limit in residential areas across the country.

However Manchester local authority is yet to implement the group’s proposal and have instead only given a ‘political commitment’ to the cause.

Currently, more than eight million people in the UK are living within areas where the local authority has adopted the 20mph limit.

Large cities including Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Liverpool, Sheffield and parts of London have all imposed the reduced limit.

And with claims being made that a 10mph cut could lead to a 40% reduction in casualties, Mr Leech believes it is time for Manchester to follow suit.

“With serious accidents on the increase, Manchester Council should stop the delays and get on with saving lives,” he said.

“Transport Minister Norman Baker has cut the red tape and made it easier for councils to introduce 20s plenty.

“Councils across the country, of all political persuasions, are finding money to make 20mph zones happen. Why are Labour Manchester doing nothing?”

Chorlton Councillor Victor Chamberlain, who proposed the council motion to adopt the idea in Manchester, echoed Mr Leech’s view.

“The council need to get on with it before any more lives are put in danger,” she said.

“It has been over a year now since Manchester agreed to my 20’s Plenty plan and little has been done to make our roads safer for all.”

Picture courtesy of Edinburgh Greens, with thanks.

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