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.

Our Recommendations

  • 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 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:


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Here at St.Albans and District Friends of the Earth we’re keen to do what we can to improve our environment here and in the rest of the world. We’re a small, friendly group who meet once a month. 

© 2019 St. Albans Friends of the Earth