Maidstone Borough Council
13 April 2022
Briefing Note - Motion - Fant 20mph Zone
1. The Council considered the issue of 20 mph zones at its meeting on 23 February 2022 and resolved the following:
“That Maidstone Borough Council supports the speed limit of 20mph on residential neighbourhoods and streets, in areas where there is evidence of community support and a community led approach.”
2. Since the consideration of that motion, at its meeting on 6 April 2022, the Maidstone Joint Transportation Board noted an update on 20mph zones and the process for assessing and implementing them, including the steps required for a community to follow in order for KCC to consider implementing a 20mph limit.
3. That report is available here:
JTB Report – Process for Requests for 20 mph Schemes
4. Section 5 of that report sets out the process required, extracts from which are provided here:
Step 1 - The promotor will need to contact Kent County Council, Schemes Planning and Delivery Team, with the extent of the proposed 20mph speed limit, detailing the support currently given to the scheme and any informal consultation carried out to date.
Step 2 - KCC Officers will assess the location and appraise against a list of local factors such as whether it will help vulnerable road users around community centres, doctors’ surgeries, nursing homes, schools and shops.
Step 3 - speed and traffic count data will be necessary to assess the measures that may be required in order to implement a compliant and safe speed limit. KCC can arrange the surveys on behalf of the promotor although there will most likely be a cost associated with this.
Step 4 - If the mean speeds and road environment favour a 20mph scheme and there is support from the local community and other stakeholders, a Traffic Regulation Order will be advertised. Kent County Council do not have designated funds to deliver 20mph schemes. The promotor must ensure that funding is available to deliver the scheme. This includes the cost of a traffic survey, which has to be carried out before officers can determine if a speed limit can be safely implemented, and what type of 20mph limit/zone would be suitable. If a speed limit change is possible and funding is secured, then advertising of the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) and the design and delivery process can commence. The TRO process costs in the region of £2,000-£4,000, this is separate from any physical build and construction costs. There is no guarantee that at consultation the proposals will be successful, in which case the TRO process may result in abortive costs. This is why the early engagement and informal consultation by the scheme promotor(s) is so vital.
Step 5 - KCC consult with Kent Police in relation to the setting of appropriate speed limits. Kent Police will not support 20mph speed limits unless the average speed of vehicles is 24mph or less but are supportive of appropriate 20mph schemes where a high level of compliance is expected.
Step 6 - Following successful consultation outcomes, discussions with the scheme promotor, and once funding is received the speed limit change can delivered/installed on site.
5. The motion refers to a petition with 881 signatures which was referred to JTB in 2019. KCC require 1,000 signatures before they will formally consider a petition however it may be that the petition is sufficient to demonstrate community support for the proposal to KCC as part of following the process above.
6. If community support for the scheme is demonstrated to KCC then it follows from the motion agreed by Council on 23 February 2022 that Maidstone Borough Council also supports the scheme.
7. It is for the community, preferably with the support of local County Members to engage with KCC in this process. Appendix A to the report to the JTB sets out the expectations from the County Cabinet Member regarding County Member support in considering another 20mph petition on Bower Mount Road:
‘If my officers feel that Bower Mount Road is a potential site for a 20mph speed limit and the County Members are in support, a two-stage approach is required.’