Daily Mail

20mph zones? We can’t enforce them

Police boss admits signs are often just ‘advisory’

- By Andrew Levy

THE use of 20mph speed zones in built-up areas has been thrown into chaos after a police chief admitted many can’t be enforced.

Giles Orpen-Smellie said the signs that have sprung up across the UK are ‘usually advisory’, meaning motorists who ignore them can’t be taken to court.

The Norfolk Police and Crime Commission­er told a public meeting: ‘It’s extremely difficult for police to prosecute... if it goes in front of magistrate­s they will throw it out.’

The response to a question at a Norfolk

County Council meeting triggered consternat­ion among road safety organisati­ons.

Liam Calvert, of charity Living Streets, said he was ‘amazed’ at the comment, adding: ‘I will be very keen to hear about the advice he has received from officers on the issue.’

And Rod King, director of campaign group 20’s Plenty For Us, dismissed the Tory commission­er’s claim as ‘absolute nonsense’.

But Norfolk Constabula­ry revealed the force doesn’t issue tickets for driving at up to 30mph in 20mph areas. A spokesman said: ‘A zone can be introduced by a local authority without any permission­s being sought. However, this can create a significan­t issue for enforcemen­t. If a zone is introduced without a traffic order [a legal document issued by the relevant highways authority] then the speed limit applicable will be 30mph.’

They said police action ‘may be appropriat­e if there is clear evidence of significan­t non-compliance or injury collision’, with the force issuing 38 tickets for motorists speeding in a 20mph limit since January 1, 2022.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council said ‘enforcemen­t is a matter for individual forces’. Research has shown just one in 40 pedestrian­s die when hit by a car going at 20mph, compared to one in five at 30mph. However a four-year study commission­ed by the Government found that the zones, introduced in 1990, had failed to make roads any safer.

Prominent motoring legislatio­n solicitor Nick Freeman –

‘Magistrate­s will throw it out’

also known as Mr Loophole – warned that a ‘ lottery’ on 20mph speed limits exists across the country. He said the zones must be formally created by a traffic order issued by the local authority and have the correct signage.

‘If either is missing it is civil, not criminal,’ he said. ‘So you won’t get penalty points but you could get a fixed penalty from the council.’

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom