Our response to Hertfordshire County Council’s (HCC) Speed Management Strategy (SMS)
Consultation Draft, July 2020.
Our response to Hertfordshire County Council’s Speed Management Strategy (SMS) Consultation Draft is given in full here, but the main points are:
Encouraging cycling and walking as a response to Covid-19
HCC ignores the significant increase in walking and cycling that occurred during lockdown. People want their streets back to walk, cycle and play in safely.
The SMS will discourage cycling and walking by not addressing excess speed in built up areas. Where 20 mph speed limits are broken, those limits can be increased. Drivers set the speed limit.
The SMS does not encourage cycling and walking to improve physical health and mental well being. Under the proposals 20 mph Areas will be small, disjointed and crossed by faster roads.
Elsewhere in the UK whole towns are adopting 20 mph as their default. What’s stopping HCC?
People spend more in the high street when they walk and cycle to get there. The high street needed a boost even before Covid-19. The SMS does not help local businesses.
Decarbonisation of transport
Transport must be decarbonised to tackle the Climate Emergency. The Government wants to make cycling and walking the natural choice for all shorter journeys, but the SMS will hinder this. The Strategy will embed the status quo - a missed opportunity.
Absence of a whole-town approach to 20 mph Areas
HCC’s approach to 20 mph Areas is a piecemeal and road-by-road approach.
HCC’s policy is that any road with a current measured speed greater than 25 mph will not qualify for a 20 mph limit (without incurring significant expense) even within a 20 mph Area. These roads will probably remain at 30 mph with others at 20. Evidence shows that this does not work.
This approach costs more, discourages cycling and walking and confuses drivers. This is poor value for your money. A lose-lose-lose situation.
Comprehensively update the SMS to reflect new realities
Develop a plan for whole-town 20 mph Areas
Be more pragmatic about including streets with slightly faster speeds
Think creatively about signage, public information and enforcement
What can you do next?
Contact 20sPlentyforStAlbansDistrict at firstname.lastname@example.org to give your support to our consultation response. Give your name and organisation’s logo. Do this by 14 September 2020. See also: twitter: and Facebook.
Use our pre-prepared message to write to your Herts Councillor. It’s easy and only takes a minute. Use: https://bit.ly/3iW5Cbh
Can you help with tree planting in St. Albans?
St. Albans District Council has secured funding from the Forestry commission to plant 1,500 tees, and they're looking for help with sourcing tree saplings for planting.
So that the money can go as far as possible, we've been asked how many saplings we could donate. They are looking for any native trees (but not ash due to problems with ash die-back).
Autumn is the time for collecting tree seeds, and locally grown saplings are the most sustainable and durable. So if you're able to collect and grow seeds for planting locally in future seasons, this would be a great contribution.
Please email if you have any saplings looking for a home.
There are also funds available from the Tree Council for schools or other groups who have access to planting land to plant trees https://treecouncil.org.uk/take-action/grants-for-trees/
If you have any connections with a school, church, scout group etc then please encourage them to plan to plant trees and apply for funds.
Can you survey the trees in your street?
Many newly planted street trees have died over the last months, often because of lack of water. Unfortunately, those trees will go down as a big tick on the council's tree planting tally, but in reality are nothing but a waste of resources. To try to prevent this happening in the future, the St. Albans Tree Action Group are collecting figures for how many new trees have died.
If you are able to do a count in your road and email your findings to , that will add evidence.
The Tree Action Group then hopes to persuade the Council to do some community engagement around tree planting, such as leafleting people living near the new trees to provide information on the benefits those trees bring and what can be done to help them - and also to allow people who would like street trees near them to get trees planted if they pledge to care for them.
To help, simply tell us the name of your street, it's postcode, and the number of live and dead trees that are present. Then email your results to , and we'll do the rest.
And finally... Get active on social media
If you've not joined the St.Albans Friends of the Earth Facebook Group yet, then there's no time like the present.
And get on Twitter to find us at @stalbansfoe
If you're really keen, then get some top tips to be really effective on social media here.