High Peak MP suggests Buxton residents unconvinced by plans for 20 mph limit
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As previously reported, earlier this year Derbyshire County Council identified Buxton as one of two pilot communities for its Green Towns initiative, which aims to make their local environment healthier and greener.
Before implementing the proposals, the council has been carrying out its own consultation process with residents but Mr Largan launched a parallel data collection survey in January which has delivered a clear message from around 500 respondents.
Mr Largan said: “It is really great that so many took the time to respond to my survey on the proposals, which also let residents tell me their priorities on top of the plans. Buxton’s residents have spoken loudly and clearly.”
Asked in the survey whether they agreed with the council’s proposals, Mr Largan reports that just 17 per cent said yes while 49 per cent said no, and 34 per cent thought the new limit should apply only to areas around schools.
One of the council’s key arguments for the new limit regards air pollution and its associated health impact, with data released in January counting 361 Buxton households within 50 metres of a road where nitrogen dioxide pollution levels may be cause for concern – one of the highest figures for comparable towns in the county.
While it is unlikely many residents are undertaking their own scientific monitoring, Mr Largan says 65 per cent of respondents to his survey rated Buxton’s air quality at eight out of ten or higher, while 83 per cent said they did not see how the new limit would improve air quality.
Asked if there were particular roads where the speed of traffic was a definite problem, respondents identified St John’s Road, Fairfield Road and Macclesfield Road.
On the question of local transport priorities, Mr Largan did not provide a detailed breakdown of respondents asking for more speed and noise cameras, traffic calming measures, new rail infrastructure, bus services and the adoption of Buxton’s Sustainable Travel plan to encourage walking and cycling – however he said the results vindicated existing policy choices.
Mr Largan said: “My survey shows that respondents see improving bus and train services as a much bigger priority. I’m really pleased on this note that the Government have pledged and spent hundreds of millions of pounds on residents’ priorities, such as the Hope Valley line upgrade, the Mottram Bypass and the Derbyshire Bus Improvement Plan.
“I’ll continue to fight for more funding and more focus on the High Peak to improve our public services.”
Asked to comment on the findings, a spokesperson for Derbyshire County Council said: “We are still analysing the responses we had to our consultation. We’d hope to be in a position to report back on the results and set out what we propose happens next within the next few months.
“We’ll continue to talk to interested parties about this issue, and thank Robert Largan MP for the information from his survey.”