Friday, 25 April 2008

Hackney Tories oppose road safety measures

Hackney Labour, Liberal and Green parties united at a Council meeting to support a standard speed limit on Hackney residential streets of 20mph and to continue to roll out a series of 20mph zones across the Borough. At the meeting, the Council was presented with evidence which showed a 60% reduction in accidents in Hackney's existing eighteen 20mph zones which cover 55% of the Borough's streets.

In contrast, every Conservative councillor chose to vote against the motion, citing reasons such as 'people will make their own risk assessments of how fast to drive' and 'cars are not designed to be driven slowly'. Another suggested that the money spent on traffic calming would be better spent on driving courses.

Hackney's elected Mayor Jules Pipe, condemned the Tories in the chamber. He said: "This is an extraordinarily reactionary position which actually puts at risk the health and livelihood of all Hackney residents, particularly our children. Even in their own ward of New River, the 20mph zone has had a documented 80% reduction in accidents since it was established in 2005. I am committed to work with local residents to introduce 20mph zones; Hackney needs safer residential streets with slower traffic that will benefit pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike".

He added:"This echos the picture across London, where Ken Livingstone has pledged wholehearted support for 20mph across all residential roads and Boris Johnson is the only mayoral candidate to oppose this. Whether in Hackney or across the capital, the Tories do not seem to realise that saving lives is more important than fast cars."

A 20mph zone is currently being rolled out across De Beauvoir after a campaign by local residents and Labour Councillors.