The attack on 20mph schemes in BaNES

Today was an opportunity to take the council to task over their recent report on 20mph schemes. In particular the way the report attempts to pull the wool over the eyes of councillors. At the last-minute, purdah was invoked to remove the item from the Scrutiny Panel until after the election. Let’s be clear. This was not political. This was a major concern by Living Streets, Cycle Bath, 20 is plenty, and Transition Bath, that a fundamental building block of good road design was being removed through deliberate misrepresentation of data in a report.

From the 20 is Plenty critique of the report:

In May 2017 N & NES Council released a report on their recent 20mph area schemes. Whilst we believe that assessing the results of 20mph limits is important in order to better implement ongoing schemes and formulate local authority policy, this must be done in a reasonable, balanced and objective manner.

20’s Plenty for Us refute the findings and conclusions in the report and advise members that the report is so compromised that it would not be reasonable for them to make any decisions based on the report. This critique looks at the report in detail.

In particular it finds the report biased, lacking in statistical rigour and not meeting several local authority duties on competency and equality.

More telling is that Cllr Anthony Clarke is acting outside of the remit of the 20mph schemes as can be demonstrated by 1 – TRO report (1) (Section 106 – Ensleigh North, Bath). This has within it these comments:

Cllr Anthony Clarke:
When was the TRO for the residential area signed off?


The development has been designed to be driven at 20mph (short straights, tight bends etc.), and doesn’t technically need a TRO, as it should be self-enforcing.  This design was signed off by Planning (Ref: 14/01853/EFUL) on 1st April 2015.

Cllr Anthony Clarke:

As you know, the present Administration does not support 20 mph, except outside schools and other exceptional circumstances.  I will not support 20 mph in Granville Road, and at most would only allow advisory 20 mph on the estate, with green roundels, and even that would require a degree of coercion. 

Cabinet Member:

I will not support 20 mph in Granville Road, and at most would only allow advisory 20 mph on the estate, with green roundels, and even that would require a degree of coercion. 


Following discussions with Highway Development Control, Granville Road is to stay as a 30mph road, and the entire Ensleigh North development will also have a 30mph speed limit on all of its roads (see Appendix 3).

The bias in the report combined with the responses Cllr Clarke has provided in a TRO are indicative of a concerted effort to remove 20mph zones going forward despite the benefits they provide to communities and, more importantly, how you can design road space.

Even Public Highways England recognises that quiet 20mph residential roads do not require segregation of traffic.


The 20mph report was removed from the scrutiny panel today under the rules of purdah. 20MPH zones are not ‘political’. This demonstrates a total misunderstanding about why people are angry about this report.

Read the critique Get angry that the Lansdown MOD Ensleigh site is 30mph with a new school because Cllr Clarke does not support 20mph, despite the huge benefits they bring. Get angry that an officer wrote an extremely poor report that prejudiced 20mph zones. Councillors rely on the expertise officers provide.

This is not political though. This is just empirical evidence being ignored.

The report does not mention which officer put this together. I am VERY concerned that this officer got away with producing a biased report like that. The 20 is plenty critique is particularly damning. FOI might be needed here.

Further analysis also available on the Transition Bath website


    • Unfortunately this feels like it is the case. A belief that 20mph zones are ineffective I put on par with not believing in man made climate change. The evidence is massively stacked against you.

  1. I’ve now submitted an FOI to determine: Who wrote the “Setting Local Speed Limits” report? What instructions were they given to write the report and by whom?

  2. I wasn’t aware of this until seeing this article, the whole thing has a whiff of collusion about it.

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