Stowmarket: Green party leader to visit Suffolk in call for 20mph zones

County councillor Guy McGregor

County councillor Guy McGregor - Credit: Archant

A NATIONAL party leader is visiting Suffolk today calling for 20mph speed limits to be more rigorously enforced to cut the numbers of people dying on the roads.

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett has called Suffolk County Council’s speed limit policy “short-sighted” and said the number of people being killed or seriously injured is rising.

She will be touring Stowmarket and meeting with campaigner Simon Burton, who is calling for a 20mph limit in the town.

Ms Bennett said: “I lost my mother in a car accident several years ago.

“There’s not a moment in my life when that fact is not in my mind. So I know how important it is to make the roads where we live safer.

“Each life lost costs the state £1.6million in lost economic contribution.

“20mph limits are also about improving quality of life for residents.

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They are proven to encourage more people to walk and cycle.”

But Suffolk County Council cabinet member for roads and transport Guy McGregor called the Greens’ policy “simplistic” and pointed to the council’s record for introducing ‘20’s Plenty’ signs in school areas.

He said: “Our record in road safety terms in Suffolk is really quite good. In Suffolk we are trying to be more subtle about speed limits.

“Just to focus on 20mph understates the complexity of what we are trying to do.

“The real test is how most drive through the appropriate speed limit and it’s not just done by limits – it’s a whole combination of things that Suffolk County Council is engaging in.

“We are not opposed to 20 mph per se but an idea of a total ‘blanket 20’ would give a false sense of security.”

Mr Burton said: “20mph limits would improve the quality of life of young and old alike and encouraging walking and cycling would be a health benefit for all.”