City centre of Norwich to be first in region to go 20mph
- Credit: © ARCHANT NORFOLK PHOTOGRAPHIC
Norwich city centre will become a 20mph zone after an historic council vote.
The £400,000 plan to introduce lower limits on every road within the old city wall was ratified yesterday in a bid to make the area safer for cyclists and pedestrians.
The move, part of the Push the Pedalways project, has been welcomed by road safety campaigners who are urging the government to ensure all councils in the UK follow suit. It is thought Norwich is the first city in the region to introduce the blanket limit, with other towns and cities only having pockets of 20mph limits.
Dave Nichols, spokesman for road safety charity Brake, said: 'This is fantastic news, both for the people of Norwich and for the council, which is obviously keen to make the city centre streets a safer and more pleasant place for all.
'Widespread 20mph limits are a proven way to reduce casualties, particularly among people on foot and bike, and encourage healthy, active lifestyles.
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'With nearly 13 million people in the UK living in areas that are implementing or have already implemented 20mph limits, we've reached a tipping point where it makes sense for the government to change the national default from 30 to 20mph.
'This would lead to financial savings and remove the timely administrative process that councils such as Norwich have had to go through.'
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Councillors at Norwich Highways Agency committee meeting yesterday said people living in Norwich would have a safer and better quality of life after the change.
There were, however, concerns from the emergency services who said they were worried about the use of speed hums in the road.
The East of England Ambulance Service and Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service said humps could delay crews getting to incidents.
The fire service also warned of spinal damage to firefighters or damage to engines could be caused by the 'jarring effect' of going over raised tables at speed.
Some of the city centre's streets are already restricted to 20mph, but the changes will see many more within the inner ring road included.
They are: Ber Street, Duke Street, Westwick Street, Rouen Road, Whitefriars and some in the Heartsease estate.
The plan is expected to be in place by March 31 next year.
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