Freedom of information response

London Road 20mph Scheme, Purfleet-on-Thames

Publication date: 
Tuesday 24 November 2020
Request: 
  1. I would like to see details of all decisions made in respect of this scheme and how it improves both cycling and pedestrian safety during this pandemic.
  2. Given that the current Government Guidance of 2 metres or 1 metre plus cannot be achieved in some parts of the sections of London Road affected as in parts there is no footway how does this improve road safety.
  3. I would also ask any previous details of a road safety scheme that may have been considered for the Harris Academy in London Road prior to Covid 19 and the rules changes allowed by the Department of Transport.
  4. As this matter may be the subject of a Judicial Review, please provide the previous three years collision statistics for the section of London Road affected by the scheme.
  5. Can I also have copies of any public health scientific document related to the transmission effects of Covid 19 given there is to be a decrease in the speed limit from 30MPH and 20MPH and how this affects transmission.
  6. Finally, can I have a copy of any document that shows how Essex police will enforce this section of road at 20MPH given they currently do not enforce the remainder of the 30MPH area, and nor do they enforce the current Large Goods Vehicle restriction covering this area across the Purfleet Station level crossing.
Response: 

1. The scheme has been introduced in order to encourage people to walk and cycle rather than return to their cars as the country opened up again following the first shutdown. This will continue to help following the second wave and shutdown about to commence.

Thurrock has received £288,000 from central government for Tranche 1 of the Emergency Active Travel Fund to encourage walking and cycling as the Covid-19 restrictions are eased.

DfT (Government) Parameters – That this funding be spent on schemes to encourage healthy forms of travel i.e. walking and cycling  and to make the street scene safer for those persons who feel vulnerable and reluctant to walk or cycle to local facilities.

Local Parameters set by Thurrock Councillors - the Council’s parameters (in addition to DfT parameters) were that the scheme proposals should not impact road space, either by affecting the free-flow and safe movement of traffic movements or on street parking arrangements. Therefore all schemes have been viewed following these guidelines.

The Tranche 1 programme was broken down into several stages (or Sieves) setting out the different levels of treatment that can be applied to areas in Thurrock to help maintain social distancing and encouraging people to travel by sustainable modes while public transport options remain limited.

Sieve 1 (School locations) and Sieve 2 (signage and stencilling in high footfall areas and pinch points) were completed during the summer.

Sieve 3 – Transport Hubs and level crossings

The scheme covers four areas in the borough around Train Stations and Level Crossings. The four areas are Purfleet Station, East Tilbury Station , Ockendon Station and Stanford-le-hope station.

The schemes are being implemented under Experimental Orders for a period of up to 12 months, which includes a consultation period of more than 6 month for the Public to help shape the scheme – the consultation closes date is 30th June 2021 (nearly 8 months’ time).

This both enabled the Council to get the measures in place quicker in line with the Government’s requirements, but also gives a longer period of consultation (than 21 days under a Full Traffic Regulation Order) and that will allow residents to see how the scheme operates before voicing their support or objection.

The Council is seeking the view of residents on the schemes and comments can be sent to the Council either by phone, by letter, email or by completing a survey which is live now on the Thurrock Council web site.

The link to the survey is https://consult.thurrock.gov.uk/travel-purfleet

This will provide some flexibility to assess and monitor their effectiveness and to make an informed decision as to whether schemes should be made permanent or removed once the Experimental Order has elapsed.

While all the identified locations have high pedestrian and/or cycle movements, each of these have additional issues which require greater intervention and assistance than signing and marking alone can provide. The introduction of temporary speed restrictions and associated physical measures will be applied to support increased walking and cycling and general improvements to the street scene in the locations identified having pinch points.

In this case:

Scheme Location:        London Road Purfleet from the junction with Church Hollow, eastwards to just east of the junction with Linnet Way.

Drawing Number(s):     CFWM-LRP-01 & 02

Description of works:  This area has sections of narrow road width and narrow footway throughout. In places there is only footway on the northern side of the road and there are sections of permitted on street parking which lead to pinch points on the road. Whilst surveys have proven that vehicle speed are not excessive in regards to the speed limit, the narrow footways and road width lead to pedestrians and cyclists feeling unsafe through the area.

The temporary proposals in this area are:

  1. Reduce the existing speed limit from 30 mph to 20 mph
  2. Introduced speed cushions at approx. 65m intervals along the length of the road to help reinforce the speed reduction.
  3. Place 20 mph repeater signs on lamp columns throughout the area
  4. Bus Stop on the northern side east of the station to be relocated 35m south east where there is a small recess in the fence allowing an area for passengers to wait safely without blocking the footway for pedestrian movements. This will also serve to move the bus stop further away from being directly opposite the stop on the other side if the road AND to move it away from the level crossing thereby reducing the risk of a tailback encroaching across the rail line.

The Transport Development team discussed the Sieve 3 proposals with the Portfolio Holder who is an elected Thurrock Councillor, is a member of the Council’s Cabinet and has responsibility of Highways and parking. He gave agreement to consult with other Council members.

The Ward Members were consulted for their views on the 4th September – no feedback was received

The Portfolio Holder and Council Leader and Deputy were also formally consulted on the scheme and approval was given.

The final go ahead was given by the Portfolio holder under Delegated powers.

2. Not only are footways in the area narrow, but there are sections of the road where the footway exists only on one side of the road.

Currently there are two locations where vehicles which are parked in the residents bays park with 2 wheels on the footway, thereby reducing the footway down even further. This is a particular concern outside Riverview Flats and the area to the west of Botany Terrace.

The reason is understood; the road width is narrow and even at the legal speed limit of 30 mph residents are concerned over the potential for damage to their vehicles.

The reduction in vehicle speed from 30 down to 20 mph will help give these residents greater confidence that their parked cars will not be damaged by passing vehicles, thereby allowing them to park correctly, fully on the carriageway without feeling the need to park with 2 wheels on the  footway, thereby creating greater room for pedestrians to pass safely.

Also, should any pedestrians feel the need to step in the road to pass other pedestrians (as has been witnessed by the Council Engineers on many occasions in this area), then the reduction in traffic speed will also help them to do so without risk of injury from passing vehicles.

3. As the new Harris Academy has only been completed and open just over a year there is no data to indicate there are any safety concerns on London Road resulting from the usage of this establishment – especially as the school was not fully open for much of that time due to the Covid restrictions.

As with any new facility a period of “settling in” is required in order to determine whether there are any issues created around the operation of the school. The pedestrian crossing, which was a safety measure introduced as part of the planning permission for the school, has only been in operation a few weeks, but so far has raised no concerns.

However, it can be confirmed that there have been no injury accidents recorded since opening to indicate that there are any safety problems related to the Academy, but as with all schools in Thurrock, this situation will continue to be monitored.

It can also be confirmed that the Council has not received and concerns, had any issues raised or received any requests for additional measures to be introduced around the Academy for safety reasons from either the public, the Forum or the Ward Members representing the area.

4. Thurrock Council does not have Collision only data. The data available to the Highway Authority is Personal Injury accident data taken from the Police records in relation to all reported accidents; the Police only record injury accidents.  On that basis, please confirm whether you wish to receive this data.

5. Thurrock Council does not hold this data.

6. Enforcement of all moving vehicle offences against Traffic Regulations Orders introduced by the Highway Authority are a matter for the Police as they are the only body empowered to enforce them. You will appreciate that the Highway Authority is not in a position to respond to your to comments of lack of enforcement which is outside the Council’s control.  

As with all Traffic Regulation Orders, this Experimental Order will involve consultation with the Police during the Consultation period.

However, it is acknowledged that Police enforcement of 20 mph limits is difficult to undertake, therefore all 20 mph limits and Zones are intended to be self-enforcing by means of Traffic Calming. In this case, as part of the scheme vertical deflection by means of Speed Cushions are being introduced throughout the effected length in support of the reduced speed limit.

You are free to use any information supplied to you for your own use, including non-commercial research purposes. However, any other type of re-use, for example, by publishing the information or issuing copies to the public will require the permission of the copyright owner.

Where the copyright is owned by Thurrock Council, you must apply to the Council to re-use the information. Please email information.matters@thurrock.gov.uk if you wish to re-use the information you have been supplied. For information where the copyright is owned by another person or organisation, you must apply to the copyright owner to obtain their permission.

Request reference:
FOI 10408