All of the council-controlled roads in Lewisham are to operate a 20mph zone, making it the ninth London borough to adopt this policy.
Campaigner Clare Griffiths and Darren Johnson, a former Green Party councillor, have been calling for the change for four years. A Lewisham mayor and cabinet meeting have agreed a £1.13million proposal to implement the scheme.
The limit has been imposed on two-thirds of the borough’s roads and will extend to the rest of them by next year, alongside an impact evaluation and a publicity campaign.
The main reason for the initiative is safety. The council quoted evidence that there is only a 2.5 per cent chance of a pedestrian dying after being hit by a car going at 20mph, compared to a 20 per cent chance if the vehicle was driving at 30mph.
Darren Johnson told Eastlondonlines: “Not only does it obviously reduce speed, injuries and deaths because it makes the road safer, but it encourages people to get out of cars and begin cycling and so making the street safer and environment-friendly, so it’s a win-win situation”.
Deputy Mayor of Lewisham Council, Alan Smith, explained why it has taken this long to implement the initiative.
He said: “We have been doing it area by area so that we can fund it, otherwise it was too difficult. So you do it by paying for it out of the reduced accidents.”
“65 per cent of our roads were covered and we have decided now that it’s time to finish off the last few areas that we had left… it’s all 20, there is no argument now.”