Rishi Sunak says he wants to stop “hare-brained” road calming and safety schemes, including 20mph zones, to end what he says is a “war on motorists”.
But the York based National Campaign Manager for 20’s Plenty, Anna Semlyen, says she doesn’t believe it’s going to win him votes because all the research says that 20mph limit in built up areas and rural villages is very popular.
The prime minister said he wanted to ensure such measures would no longer be “forced” on drivers.
In an interview with the Sun, Mr Sunak said he was “slamming the brakes on the war on motorists, it’s as simple as that”.
“What we want to do now is make sure that all these hare-brained schemes that are forced on local communities, whether it’s Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, blanket 20mph speed limits, all of that… need to stop.”
He conceded that 20mph zones near schools “make sense” but said they should not be done in a “blanket way” – criticising the Welsh government’s decision to drop the default speed limit from 30mph to 20mph for restricted roads.
York 20’s Plenty campaigner Anna Semlyen hit back at the PM.
“It gets more popular after it’s been implemented as well. And about 70 plus percent of people do want 20 miles an hour on their home streets.
“Only about 14% are against because it does have the effect of reducing casualties.
“In Wales they are expecting between 60 to 100 fewer deaths in the next 10 years, maybe 20,000 fewer casualties in all because of their national rollout of 20 miles an hour.
“I think even people in villages want 20 miles an hour in North Yorkshire for instance, there are over 153 parishes that have voted for it.
“I think it will backfire against the Prime Minister and the Conservatives because people do want road safety, they do want 20mph now.
“Also the the national government have devolved powers to set road speeds to local highways authorities.
“So it’s not even in the gift at the moment of the government to change that before the election all they can do is send out some guidance to local authorities saying some things about not making 20 miles an hour absolutely everywhere.
“So I think this is just smoke and mirrors. What’s happening is Rishi Sunak is desperately after some votes. And he’s going the wrong way about it.”