This morning (Friday) Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport Michael Payne officially opened the 20mph town-wide trial zones in Faversham and Tonbridge.
In addition, two town centre 20mph schemes in Margate and Tunbridge Wells came into force.
The changes around both towns include 20mph road markings and signs as well as signed 20mph ‘gateways’ as you drive into these town-wide trials.
These will have either a buff or red surface to highlight the start of the new speed limit.
Throughout the trial period, KCC will be monitoring the effectiveness of the scheme and listening to feedback.
Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport Michael Payne said:
“I have been very clear in policy terms that I wanted two town wide trials of 20mph zones, one in West Kent and one in the east of the county.
“We are fortunate that in Tonbridge, the scheme was sufficiently well worked up that, with the support of Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, it was put forward together with a trial in Faversham as part of the government’s scheme.
“All these trials will be reviewed. However, based on the support that they have received and the comments that have been made to me, most residents want them.
“Obviously if these trials are successful, they could provide the template for further locations in the county, if and when schemes are drawn up and further funding is available.
“I realise that it will require a mindset change and a shift in thinking for them to work, quite apart from the role of the police who are ultimately responsible for the enforcement of all traffic regulations and whom I wish to take this opportunity to thank.
“But if the majority of residents are also motorists, then they should all realise that to simply ignore speed limits is, at the very, least antisocial. In short, residents will be given the chance to say if they don’t want the schemes long term or suggest how they may be improved for the future.”
Cllr Eddie Thomas, Chair of Faversham Town Council 20s Plenty Committee said:
“I believe that this new town wide 20mph area will encourage more walking and cycling around Faversham and so a healthier and more active population.
“I thank Amanda Russell and the community group for their tireless work in bringing this 20mph vision to the attention of local councillors, and I am grateful that we councillors were able to give the scheme the support it deserved and required.
“I know that the majority of local people support 20mph and from all the evidence that I have read, it does make our streets safer for all who use them. So please say so when you respond to the KCC consultation.”
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council Leader Nicolas Heslop said:
“The speed of traffic in roads such as The Ridgeway in Tonbridge has been a long-standing concern for residents.
“While parts of the town already have a twenty mile per hour limit, this trial offers us an opportunity to spread the benefits and test its impact on car usage, walking and cycling.
“If successful, it could prove an important step towards fundamental changes in how we make local journeys, improve safety and also contribute to our strategy to cut carbon emissions across the borough.
“There is a strong desire on the part of Tonbridge Councillors in representing their communities in making residential areas more environmentally friendly and safer.”
Tom Tugendhat MP for Tonbridge and Malling said:
“Many roads in Tonbridge have long had speeding concerns, and reducing the limit will help manage this. I welcome the investment made in this town wide trial which will help resolve long standing issues many of us face from dangerously fast vehicles.
“Those of us with young children, with difficulty getting around or wish to walk or cycle more will welcome these changes.
“I’d encourage everyone to share your thoughts during the next few months so our town no longer suffers from inconsiderate speeding.”