20mph speed limit may be introduced across Buxton under Derbyshire County Council Green Towns plan

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A 20mph speed limit could be introduced across Buxton under proposals being considered by Derbyshire County Council to improve road safety, air quality and environmental impact.

The council’s cabinet will discuss the possibility at a meeting on Thursday, January 12, with members expected to approve a public consultation for residents to have their say on the idea.

According to previous presentations on the project, the change would apply to Buxton town centre, parts of Fairfield, Lightwood Road, Long Hill, Dale Road, Burlington Road and other residential areas and involve signed limits, rather than physical measures such as speed bumps.

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A similar trial would be carried out in the Erewash town of Long Eaton, with the council saying the two communities have been chosen as they have known traffic issues and meet certain criteria for piloting the idea before it is potentially rolled out elsewhere.

Would you welcome moves to cut traffic speeds across Buxton town centre?Would you welcome moves to cut traffic speeds across Buxton town centre?
Would you welcome moves to cut traffic speeds across Buxton town centre?

Councillor Kewal Singh Athwal, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “It is important that we take into account the views of local people before we start a 20 mph limit in their towns. We think it could improve health by improving air quality and hopefully get more people out of their cars and walk or cycle to make short local journeys, but the only way we will really know is to do some trials.

“This public consultation is an important first step in finding out what people initially think about the idea, and I look forward to hearing their views, should my cabinet colleagues approve this report.”

Cabinet documents describe Buxton as the county town with the highest proportion of working residents (64 per cent) employed close to home, therefore offering “good potential for modal shift for short journeys” – a key part of the Green Towns initiative.

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Council officers note: “A safer lower speed trafficked environment will lend itself to encourage more people to walk and cycle rather than travel by car for short journeys.

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“This can improve air quality and combat climate change by reducing carbon and other emissions, improve health and wellbeing through more physical activity, and tackle congestion on our roads.”

At present, just one per cent of local work journeys are undertaken by bicycle, although 22 per cent are on foot – the second highest in Derbyshire.

Of the towns assessed by the council, Buxton also had the third highest number of households (361) within 50 metres of a road where nitrogen dioxide pollution levels may be cause for concern.

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The council says a trial may also be more ‘deliverable’ in Buxton given sustainability programmes already in development such as the White Peak Loop extension, Buxton Town Travel Plan, Future High Streets Fund projects and the rural mobility hub pilot scheme.

If the cabinet agrees to launch the consultation, it would begin this month and last 12 weeks, including a public exhibition event setting out the plans in detail.

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Residents would be asked for their views and whether they think it would make a difference to their travel choices and how they might benefit.

If the council then goes ahead with the change, it would carry out before-and-after monitoring of air quality, sustainable transport, traffic speeds, behavioural patterns and other factors to assess the impact.

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For more information, see the cabinet papers at https://bit.ly/3Zbkqsx.

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