20 mph zones in Bristol save the NHS £15m per year

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On 13 February, Bristol City Council announced it will be carrying out a review of Bristol’s 20 mph zones.

Politically, the battle lines are clearly drawn, with the Greens and the Conservatives in direct opposition. The Conservatives say that 20 mph zones restrict an individual’s right to make appropriate judgments based on circumstances; the Greens say that 20 mph makes roads safer and improve conditions for pedestrians and cyclists.

Coincidentally, a major report from UWE was also published this week which examined over 36 million vehicle movements and corresponding speed data.

Despite the lack of police enforcement and widespread non-compliance, the report identified speed reductions on 100 of the 106 roads surveyed, unlike in other cities where targeted areas have been smaller and which have focused on particular accident hot-spots.

Although the report showed average speed reductions of only 3 mph, cumulatively this has meant that the 20 mph zones in Bristol have still saved 4 lives and prevented 11 serious injuries and 159 slight injuries per year. In total, the report suggests this will have saved the NHS an annual £15m.