The council is urging the government to give it powers to enforce 20mph speed limits in Reading.

Reading Borough Council (RBC) says speeding is one of the most raised issues in local community safety surveys, with a strong desire for better enforcement of the growing number of 20mph zones in Reading.

It has reiterated its call for new powers to enforce 20mph zones in the town to create safer local communities and says there is even scope for local authorities to enforce speed limits up to 40mph.

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Councillors will discuss the council’s response to the Department for Transport’s (DfT) consultation on road policing at next week’s Traffic Management Sub-Committee on Thursday, November 12.

Councillors will also discuss plans around the existing 20mph zone in Redlands Ward, in the area around the Royal Berkshire Hospital and the University of Reading.

This includes a range of new physical measures in the hospital and university area such as speed cushions and humps, width restrictions, and improved signage.

In its response, the council has called for new powers for local highway authorities to be actively involved in speed enforcement in residential areas.

The council also wants the government to give councils outside of London the same powers to enforce moving traffic offences, such as ignoring banned turnings, one-way streets and obstructing yellow box junctions.

It says moving traffic offence enforcement powers, already held by local councils in London, have achieved higher levels of enforcement than police resources can deliver.

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The council’s response to the DfT states that local highway authorities such as RBC could play a much more active role in speed enforcement, particularly in enforcing 20 mph speed limit zones.

It says council is “under continuing and understandable public pressure to extend the number of 20mph zones” but increased effective and regular enforcement is needed.

The response adds: “However, it is clear that Thames Valley Police has a declared policy of not supporting 20mph speed enforcement.

“This may be justified by the police in terms of reduced resources and the need to focus on higher policing priorities, but it leaves an entirely unacceptable situation for locally elected representatives.

“We need therefore to have the powers to devise more effective methods for enforcing 20mph zones.”

Tony Page, Reading’s lead member for Strategic Environment, Planning and Transport, said: “We firmly believe that a local authority such as Reading – which is willing and able to pilot and resource local speed enforcement – should be allowed to do this in the interests of our local communities.

“By enabling local highway authorities to enforce 20mph zones local communities would benefit from safer roads.

“In the same way that parking enforcement was transferred to the council from the police many years ago so, too, it is now essential that speeding enforcement becomes a council function.

“Action must be taken and RBC is willing and able to do this and should be allowed the necessary powers.”

He added: “It is important to understand this is no council ‘cash grab’ as all fines would have to be reinvested in either further speed enforcement resources or local environmental measures, as currently happens by law with bus lane and parking fines.”