- Councillor Danny Keeling (Leader of the Opposition, Green): “20mph borough-wide is the right thing to do, but we shouldn’t have to wait two years for safe streets.”
- Councillor Nate Higgins (Green): “The Mayor promised me this would be complete by October. Councillors are told to wait for safer streets which will now be delivered two years late. Labour must answer: What’s gone wrong?”
Newham’s Labour Cabinet has today approved a plan to deliver borough-wide 20mph two years later than promised. The policy was in both the Green and Labour manifestos during last year’s local elections.
Councillor Danny Keeling (Stratford Olympic Park, Green), who leads the opposition at Newham Council, said: “Introducing a 20mph speed limit borough-wide is the right thing to do, and Greens unequivocally support it. That’s why both parties backed the policy in our election manifestos endorsed by almost 80% of voters. We know that collisions at this speed are significantly less likely and less fatal and that it does not substantially impact journey times. But we shouldn’t have to wait two years for safe streets – that’s not what residents voted for.”
The proposal was red-rated in the corporate plan back in November, which means it was at significant risk of failing to be delivered. Councillor Nate Higgins (Stratford Olympic Park, Green) quizzed Labour Mayor Rokhsana Fiaz on the timeline for delivery in a November 29th Overview and Scrutiny Committee Meeting, Mayor Fiaz responded: “My understanding of the October 2023 is that is when it will largely all be complete”.
Now, just one month before the timeline Mayor Fiaz committed to, cabinet members have today backed a plan that won’t be complete until late 2025. Councillor Higgins said: “The Mayor promised me this would be done by October. Councillors are being told to wait when asking to make dangerous roads in our wards safer for a borough-wide plan to be in place that will now be delivered two years late. Either Mayor Fiaz was wrong when she made that commitment, or something has changed. Labour must now answer: What on earth has gone wrong to delay this plan by two years?”
Councillor Higgins, calling for action, added: “If Labour is going to take two years to implement safer roads borough-wide, the council must be responsive to demands for change on individual dangerous roads in the meantime. The council knows which roads are dangerous in my ward because I won’t stop telling them. It’s time for action, not yet more delays”.
It has now been 10 months since Mayor Fiaz made that commitment, and the Cabinet is only just now approving the implementation of the borough-wide program over a timeline of two years. Southwark and Camden both appear to have completed their programs within 8 months, and Tower Hamlets appears to have completed their program within 2 months. London Boroughs Healthy Streets Scorecard data shows Newham has the lowest proportion of 20mph streets of any inner London borough at just 41%
Greens have long been called for 20mph speed limits borough-wide, with Councillor Higgins calling for action at his first Full Council meeting in June 2022: “Greens are delighted to see almost universal support for a 20mph speed limit across the borough. We’re calling on the council to implement this recommendation, there really can be no excuses at this point.”
Councillor Keeling finished: “Labour’s delays have real, human consequences. How many collisions will we see in these two years that wouldn’t have otherwise occurred? How many fatalities could have been avoided if Labour had gotten their act together more quickly? These are the questions Labour must now answer.”
Newham Green Party is the largest and only opposition group on Newham Council. Councillor Danny Keeling uses they/them pronouns. Councillor Nate Higgins uses he/him pronouns.