26 March 2014
Brake, the road safety charity
Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, has been given a national road safety award by the charity Brake and Direct Line Group for his commitment to increasing the number of 20mph speed limits in his constituency.
Alongside a coalition of Labour councillors and local residents, Sadiq has been campaigning for 20mph limits on residential roads in Tooting for seven years, with the first petitions handed to Wandsworth Borough Council in 2007.
Sadiq has collected hundreds of signatures as part of the campaign, with an overwhelming response from local residents in support of 20mph limits. In June 2013, Sadiq wrote an open letter to the leader of council on residents' behalf, urging them to implement 20mph limits in a number of areas where demand is strongest.
At the start of 2014, Sadiq and local residents convinced Wandsworth Borough Council to consider implementing 20mph limits in areas where at least one in 10 residents are actively calling for it, making it much easier to secure a public consultation.
With his support and that of local councillors, residents of two wards in Sadiq's constituency then submitted a petition to the council asking for 20mph consultations in their areas, and in March 2014, the council agreed.
Up to 30,000 people in the wards of Furzedown and Bedford will now have their say on proposals for every road in their area, bar one or two major routes, to 'GO 20'. The consultation will run until Friday 4 April, and Sadiq is working hard to spread the word via social media and his weekly newsletter, to make sure as many people as possible are heard. So far, residents' responses have been extremely positive; a recent newspaper poll showed 65% in favour.
Road safety remains a big priority for Sadiq, who has a busy parliamentary life as shadow justice secretary and shadow lord chancellor. He says he will continue to push for Wandsworth Borough Council to extend 20mph limits to more wards in his constituency. Sadiq is also supporting a number of community campaigns for safe crossings, including outside Fircroft Primary School and Tooting Leisure Centre.
Find out more about Brake's national GO20 campaign for safe, active, happy communities.
Julie Townsend, deputy chief executive, Brake, said: "We are delighted Sadiq has shown such long-standing commitment to 20mph limits, and we hope his campaign will meet with further success. Ultimately, we would like everyone in Tooting, London as a whole, and other cities, towns and villages across the UK to reap the many benefits of 20mph limits. That's why we're campaigning nationally for all our communities to 'GO 20' and for drivers to slow down in built up areas, to make our streets safer and more pleasant for walking and cycling. We believe everyone should be able to walk and cycle in their area, for their health and enjoyment, and as a cheap and sustainable way to commute and get about, without being put in danger by traffic. 20mph limits help people to do just that."
Sadiq Khan, MP for Tooting, said: "Throughout my nine years as the local MP, I have campaigned alongside the local community to make our roads safer. Together we have successfully fought for more road safety measures outside local schools, more pedestrian crossings on dangerous roads, and we have long campaigned for more 20mph zones in residential areas. More 20mph zones would help reduce both the risk and severity of collisions as well as encouraging more people to walk and cycle.
"After many years and many petitions, this year we finally convinced Wandsworth Council to take action, which is a real testament to the hard work and determination of everyone involved in our campaign. The consultation is taking place in two wards in my constituency and I am working hard to spread the message to make sure local people have their say. Going forward, I also want to see the council consult on introducing them in the other five wards in my constituency; we can't allow the council to drag their heels on this any longer.
"Brake do a fantastic job of campaigning to make our roads safer all over the UK, and it is a real pleasure to win this road safety award."
Notes for editors
Brake is an independent road safety charity. Brake exists to stop the five deaths and 63 serious injuries that happen on UK roads every day and to care for families bereaved and seriously injured in road crashes. Brake runs awareness-raising campaigns, community education programmes, events such as Road Safety Week (17-23 November 2014), and a Fleet Safety Forum, providing advice to companies. Brake's support division cares for road crash victims through a helpline and other services.
Road crashes are not accidents; they are devastating and preventable events, not chance mishaps. Calling them accidents undermines work to make roads safer, and can cause insult to families whose lives have been torn apart by needless casualties.
Direct Line Insurance Group plc
Started in 1985, Direct Line became the first UK insurance company to use the telephone as its main channel of communication. It provides motor, home, travel and pet insurance cover direct to customers by phone or on-line.
Direct Line general insurance policies are underwritten by UK Insurance Limited, Registered office: The Wharf, Neville Street, Leeds LS1 4AZ. Registered in England No 1179980. UK Insurance Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority.
Direct Line and UK Insurance limited are both part of Direct Line Insurance Group plc. Customers can find out more about Direct Line products or get a quote by calling 0845 246 3761 or visiting www.directline.com.