20mph Speed Limits

The new normal?

Join in our survey on 20mph speed limits.

You saw it in Australia – the climate emergency is now.  Australia is but the beginning.  Elmbridge is not immune.  We need to act now but in a considered and measured fashion.

In Elmbridge one of the biggest causes of the climate emergency is car traffic.  The internal combustion engine belching out fumes and carbon dioxide.  

We, in Elmbridge, are big users of cars and compared to the national average we seem to like big cars that cause even more climate emergency problems.

What if we could travel safety to where we wanted to go without having to belch out fumes?  Simply do what the Dutch and Danes take for granted – we could cycle.

Cycling is the healthiest form of transport.  People who cycle live longer than those who do not.

We need to change the design of our streets so that our own first choice of travel is by cycle.  To do that we need two things:

– 20mph speed limits on side streets – this is relatively cheap to do.

– Separate cycle ways alongside main roads – this is more expensive, but we can do it if we want a healthier and safer environment.

Join our survey on 20mph speed limits.

Your frequently asked questions on
20 mph speed limits

Investing in Weybridge

Most of the funding for the new market / fair street improvement is being funded by CIL

New building development in Weybridge has meant that we have around £500,000 to invest in projects that improve our lives in Weybidge.

If your organisation has a project that will contribute to Weybridge’s infrastructure then apply for a grant from Elmbridge borough. You can apply for grants up to £500,000 from 13 February.

Click here for a summary on CIL and get examples of recent bids here.

Complete and submit your application by midnight on Sunday
29 March 2020.

Click here for further detailed information about the CIL grant process and do contact the borough CIL team on 01372 474342 or email cil@elmbridge.gov.uk or ourselves if you need help and guildance.

Broadwater Lake

Following from the success of the construction of a properly laid footpath from Grenside Road in Weybridge to Cowey Sale, championed by Cllr Andrew Davis, many residents commented on the state of Broadwater Lake which had become silted up and obscured by fallen trees. Local councillors agreed to the request to use Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funding, with contributions from the Beechcroft and Templemere estates, to pay for dredging the lake as a first step towards improving its appearance. This was completed on 9-10th January.

Unauthorised moorings on the Thames

I regularly paddle up and down the river between Weybridge and Walton whilst training as a member of Weybridge Rowing Club and Thames Valley Skiff Club. Over the last few years I have witnessed a significant increase in boats moored without permission along the river.

Within the Public Right of Navigation there is deemed a right for boat owners to stop on land, subject to the necessary landowners consent, for a reasonable period, the Environment Agency (EA) considering this to be 24 hours. The law only allows the owners of the land that the boats are moored on to take action against an unauthorised mooring. As the EA owns most of the towpath running through Elmbridge, they consider the most effective method or dealing with this issue is through prosecution for repeated trespass offences. But anyone regularly using the river or the towpath can see that this has so far failed to produce any reduction in the number of illegally moored boats. 

However, there have been two recent developments which indicate some positive steps towards tackling this problem:

  1. Those occupying a number of moored boats near Cherry Orchard Gardens in Molesey had encroached onto the towpath and erected fences, gardens and garden furniture. Last year the Elmbridge Borough Council (EBC) Planning Compliance Team issued nine enforcement notices to have these removed. The notices were appealed, but on the 13th January the government’s Planning Inspectorate turned down the appeals as ‘not valid’. This means that the enforcement notices can now come into effect. The notices require the use of the land for the permanent mooring of boats to cease, and any structures, fencing or enclosures to be removed. The period for compliance is one calendar month, i.e. by the 13th February.
  2. The EA has decided to engage in procuring the services of a specialist company to help it manage moorings on its land. They have previously managed their designated mooring sites where charges applied for stays of more than 24 hours, e.g. at Hurst Park Wharf, Molesey, at Miskins Wharf, Walton, and at Desborough Island. This time it also wants the appointed company to be responsible for managing boats moored outside its designated mooring sites. This is a significant change. It wants all boats to be moored in accordance with any applicable terms and conditions; this should mean that overstaying boats are moved by their owners/masters without delay or enforcement procedures will be put into place. Subject to the quality and affordability of the responses received, the EA hopes to make an appointment and have all necessary arrangements in place before the Easter Bank Holiday weekend of 10-12th April.

Finally, EBC has no powers to move/evict boats on EA land but it has continued to work closely with Surrey Police and the EA. If you identify a crime or anti-social behaviour then this should be reported to the police or reported on-line at:

Report ASB associated with moorings

To report any other non-urgent matter relating to the river contact: enquiries@environment-agency.gov.uk or telephone 03708 506 506 during office hours. The EA will also seek to take action against any incidents of pollution in the river that are reported to them. If you witness any dumping of waste into the river you can report this on their hotline 0800 807060 and they will investigate.  

20s Plenty for Us

Why reduce speeds in our residential streets?
There are a whole host of reasons but in climate emergency terms it is to enable people to travel in the safest, healthiest and greenest way that we know and that is by cycling. We know that people will cycle if they feel safe.  The way to do this is to provide cycle ways separate from the carriageway – as opposed to a narrow lane in the kerb; and, on our side streets to have speed limits set below 20mph.

Just imagine the difference if all our secondary children could walk or cycle to their local school.  Of course, we would be reducing air pollution too.

Why is 20mph so important for safety?

Studies show that humans react differently when they are moving below 20mph as opposed to when they are moving above that speed.  It is all to do with our own maximum sprinting speed.  For obvious reasons, evolution did not equip us to react to situations when we were travelling faster than we could sprint.  So when travelling below 20mph we can deal with other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists in a far more convivial manner than when we are travelling above that speed.  

We have 30mph now – is that not good enough?

When the urban speed limit was set at 30mph in 1934 it was a matter of judgement that is was a safer speed.  Via a great deal of research, we now know that at above roughly 22mph most people find it difficult to read the intention of the person coming towards us.  The lower our speed, the more likely it would be that we could avoid bumping or crashing into someone. 

But we know driving slower is safer – what is so special about 20mph?
,,
Unlike braking distance, which increases with speed gradually, the ability to read the intention of a person coming toward you declines slowly up to around 20mph and then collapses rapidly.  Below that speed, you can see where the other person is looking and act accordingly.  Above that speed, you have to guess – and guess very quickly – to avoid a crash or, more seriously, injury or death.

The police cannot enforce a 20mph speed limit – so what is the point?

It is regrettable that our police service is decidedly overstretched but just because our police cannot, at the moment, enforce the speed this does not mean a 20mph limit should not be introduced.  Otherwise we might as well abolish the crime of theft.

Brooklands Business Park Accessibility Project

Your local councillors recently attended an update briefing from Surrey CC’s Transport Strategy Project Manager and Transport Planner on the work planned to provide improved pedestrian and cycling paths from Weybridge town centre to the station and through to Brooklands Park. 

Some preparatory work has already been completed:

  • Last summer clearing of ground-covering scrub and trees was undertaken along Heath Road; a few trees were retained to give a better aesthetic and the paths will be routed around these. 
  • The much-needed resurfacing of St George’s Avenue last October was also part of the scheme and a dropped kerb was built towards the station end of the road so that cyclists can come off the road onto a short section of pavement to then cross the main road via the refuge.
  • In November, the refuges for pedestrian access to the station were widened and dropped kerbs improved.

More work is planned for the February half-term, including larger refuges for the crossing on Brooklands Road to Heath Road South car park. Following this, the track from the car park, past the sewage treatment works, across the River Wey and through to Brooklands will be widened and provided with lighting. Funding has been ear-marked for improvements to Sopwith Drive and Wellington Way as well as for better pedestrian access to the station and for increased cycle parking provision. There will be bus stop improvements and suitably placed finger-post signs. The path under Wellington Way occasionally floods, as it has done recently, and a raised boardwalk is planned to keep this path open and usable more often.

If there is sufficient money then a second phase will be considered to link the planned route from Heath Road through to Churchfields and the town centre. This exciting proposition would complement the current discussions of a town regeneration scheme centred around developing the publicly-owned NHS, library and community centre sites. There would be further public consultation on any proposed options.

Cycling to a new level

The regular monthly Sunday Elmbridge cycle ride is called off because of the weather.  The next ride will be on Sunday 8th March. 

But if you want to look towards the summer the Elmbridge Cycle Group is planning cycle tour in Switzerland – to ride from the source of the River Rhine to Lake Constance in Germany.

The trip will be towards the end of June (provisionally 21st June to 28th June).  They will start in Andermatt at the source of the Rhine River and will follow it (mostly downhill) until it reaches Lake Constance.  This will be about 5 days of cycling with one or two rest days or optional side excursions to Liechtenstein, St Gall and/or Friedrichshafen.  Beyond Lake Constance there is another option to continue for three or four more days to Basel.

Typical distances will be between 30km and 60km per day.

If you are interested or have any questions please let George of Elmbridge Cycle Group know.

Weybridge Streetscape

Although our eventual aim is to remove all through traffic from our High Street – that will have to wait until Surrey Council Council corrects its financial position. In the meantime, we in Weybridge can undertake our own improvements using our own CIL funds.

Clearing the clutter

The first major improvement is to provide an outdoor space for markets and performances that aims to help enhance community life and bring more footfall into town. It would be difficult not to miss the work being undertaken along the pavement from the Elmgrove Road junction along the High Street past Waitrose to The Ship Hotel. The borough council has worked over the past two years to develop this scheme envisioned by the Weybridge Town Business Group.

Funded with CIL money, the redesign and resurfacing of the high street pedestrian area will create a flexible shared space that retains on-street parking for most of time and can be easily converted to provide facilities for market stalls and events. The work started on the 13th January and completion is scheduled for the 3rd April.

Key features:    

  • Declutter and open up the high street 
  • Resurface and extend the pavement  
  • Retain on-street parking 
  • Offer a flexible events space 
  • Respect the conservation areas 
  • Retain the same number of trees but replace with semi-mature trees: the current tree roots are pushing up the pavements resulting in uneven surfaces and causing accessibility issues for pedestrians. The proposed works will seek to retain the overall current number of trees but replace existing trees with new semi- mature trees within appropriate tree pits.

New Focus is out, and being delivered across Elmbridge

Our monthly newsletter Focus is out and being delivered to homes across Elmbridge.

If you have not received yours, please email chair@elmbridgelibdems.org.uk.

This Focus talks about the Elmbridge Climate Emergency, car parking and the council’s consultations related to the Local Plan, plus more.

Energy and Sustainability

Some snippets of information from matters that have been discussed over the last few months by the Energy & Sustainability Working Group.

Refill Weybridge

This national scheme has been promoted by the Working Group across the borough, the aim being to make it easy for anyone to fill their water bottles for free at participating shops, businesses and cafes, called Refill Stations. This reduces the numbers of new plastic bottles being bought and hence lowers the amount of carbon emitted from bottle production and plastic recycling. Most towns in Elmbridge have a Refill Champion and in Weybridge this is Cllr Charu Sood. She has been very active in setting up the scheme and there are now seven Refill Stations in the Queen’s Road shopping area and over 30 in the main Church Street/High Street area.

To find out where they are, download the Refill App (by City to Sea CIC):

Refill Stations should have a sticker showing that they are participating:

Trees and green spaces

Surrey County Council has a free tree give-away with an ambitious target of planting one tree per resident by 2030. This amounts to 1.2 million trees. This will help to tackle climate change – by the time a tree is 40 years old it will have absorbed one tonne of CO2 – as well as enhancing our environment. The Working Group heard from a representative of the Woodland Trust who stated that Elmbridge only has 17.6% (2016 figure) of woodland cover and that 20% is the minimum recommended to help absorb more of our locally emitted CO2.

Elmbridge BC has set up a Community Planting Fund of £100,000 to support community groups who want financial help to deliver projects that improve Elmbridge’s green spaces. This fund is open to charities, community interest companies, parish councils, voluntary groups, schools, scouting and girl guiding groups, and other not-for-profit organisations. It can be used for a variety of projects including: Community gardens, In-Bloom groups, new planters/flower troughs, or any other projects that would contribute to make Elmbridge a green and brighter borough. Applications can be made from 1 February to 13 March 2020 and up to a maximum of £5,000 per project could be allocated.

The Climate Emergency

As already posted, Elmbridge Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 and agreed the need to put measures in place to make the Council carbon neutral by 2030. To do this the council has contracted the Carbon Trust to undertake a carbon audit of all council owned properties; they will be reporting their findings by March 2020.

Help with saving energy

Action Surrey delivered an interesting presentation on grants and payments that can be made to householders to assist them in making their homes more energy efficient. Visiting their website gives details of eligibility and applications for the Warm Homes Discount, Cold Weather Payments and Winter Fuel Payments. They will also give advice on installing renewable energy sources such as solar heating panels for which there is a government Renewable Heat Incentive, meaning that you are able to receive payments for the heat that you generate, and for solar photovoltaic panels which qualify for Smart Export Guarantee arrangements with the energy companies to sell them any excess electricity produced.