RCPCH responds to Government’s review of on 20mph limits and low traffic neighbourhoods in England

The Government has recently set out a strategy in which they will review the guidance on 20mph limits and low traffic neighbourhoods in England. Reports now say that the Government is preparing to stop English councils from introducing new 20mph speed limits.

RCPCH are deeply concerned about these policy reviews, which prioritise drivers and totally ignore the impact on the health and wellbeing of children, young people, and other vulnerable road users. 

In response to these plans, Chair of the RCPCH Climate Change Advocacy Group and Paediatric Emergency Medicine Consultant, Dr Katie Knight said: 

Globally, road traffic accidents are a leading cause of death and serious injury among young people, but thankfully rates in the UK have fallen. These significant reductions are testament to the success of previous national strategies that centre on harm reduction, active travel, and public transport.  

To move away from these policies now is a dereliction of duty to children and young people. The policies in discussion are there because they save children’s lives and reduce serious injury, with a 6% reduction in collisions noted for every 1mph speed reduction in urban areas. At a speed of 30mph, the risk of death for a pedestrian hit by a car is up to five times higher than at a speed of 20mph.

If preventing death and serious injury were not enough, policies limiting speed in built up areas also reduce pollution from car emissions; this is vital to improving child health outcomes, lowering the risk of serious lung disease and reducing deaths from asthma. Every child deserves to breathe clean air and to be able to travel to school on safer roads. 

We are strongly urging the Government to keep children’s safety, wellbeing and health at the heart of these policy discussions.