Blanket 20mph speed limit for Brighton

Green local authority faces down opposition from taxi drivers

A £1.5 million 20mph scheme is to be rolled out across Brighton and Hove over the next four years, making it one of the most comprehensive in the country. The move applies to the majority of shopping and residential streets covering a two-and-a-half square mile block of the city.

As with the majority of 20mph zones in other areas, Sussex police are expected to follow the advice of the Association of Chief Police Officers and rely on self-enforcement by motorists. Major routes in and out of the city will be excluded and remain at 30mph.

Brighton and Hove is the first council to be run by the Green Party, who have been in power there since 2011. They also control the transport committee that have brought in the 20mph scheme, with eight of the 10 members voting in favour of the new speed limit.

Further 20mph zones could be introduced in other areas of the city as part of a phased introduction over the next four years but those decisions aren't being taken at this stage, the council said.

The measure marks the end of a three-year battle with local taxi drivers, who lobbied the transport committee. They claimed that drivers would be endangered by passengers travelling late at night who thought they were being driven deliberately slowly in order to be charged an inflated fare.

A survey on behalf of The Independent newspaper found that public backing for slow-down zones in builtup areas has reached more than 60 percent, and that more than a third of local authorities have introduced some 20mph controls. Brighton now joins Liverpool, Bristol, York, Oxford, Newcastle-upon-Tyne and parts of London, which have already introduced the policy.

A continent-wide coalition of safety campaigners, environmentalists and community organisations are seeking a million backers for a European Union petition that could see a lower limit of 30kmh (20mph) become mandatory from next year in all 27 member states. In the UK, the main campaign group for 20mph limits is 20's Plenty.

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