The Reader: Beware: new 20mph zone will have its limits

Obey: a 20mph speed limit sign (Photo: Richard Baker / In Pictures via Getty Images Images): In Pictures via Getty Images

While cutting speed limits to 20mph on main roads in parts of London is a good idea, unless the limits are enforced the nutters and all those delivery drivers on tight schedules will continue to drive too fast [“20mph London: limit to be cut in C-charge zone,” September 6].

In the main shopping area of Swiss Cottage, traffic speeds are unregulated so coach drivers and the rest happily zoom through at any speed they like. Transport for London told me a year or two back that speed cameras are only installed after fatal accidents — too late, of course.

But if TfL won’t do anything, perhaps the Department of Transport can act? Or, better still, maybe vehicle makers can use the electronic systems they have to make drivers obey the local speed limit automatically?
David Reed

EDITOR'S REPLY

Dear David

I assume you’re referring to Finchley Road, which for decades has been a four-lane race track. It lies outside the C-charge zone but by now it should have been transformed under TfL’s proposal to remove the Swiss Cottage gyratory. Alas, that plan was ditched after Westminster council objected to the proposed CS11 cycle superhighway.

Some cynics joked that a 20mph limit was pointless when speeds in central London were barely at that of a horse and cart. That is true of average speeds at peak hours, but there are plenty of opportunities for selfish motorists to put their foot down at other times. What is needed to give an edge to 20mph limits is for enforcement responsibilities to pass from the Met to the 33 boroughs.

More than 160,000 speeding tickets are issued by the Met police each year, about a quarter in 20mph areas. But this barely captures the true prevalence of speeding. Motorists who risk the safety of others deserve to be caught and punished. That’s the message that needs to be sent to Whitehall — and fast.

Ross Lydall, City Hall Editor

Fire safety has gone badly wrong

Once again, another block of London flats, this time in Worcester Park, is gutted by a rapidly spreading fire — why? Questions must be asked [“Families flee flats inferno,” September 9].

Fortunately, no one has been killed this time, but again the fire spread rapidly, destroying virtually the entire building, which implies that something has gone dreadfully wrong with the fire safety and fire suppression systems within the building.

Your article said “every floor was alight” and pictures of the fire showed the cladding burning. While this is an obvious first place to look, it may not be the entire story. Why did the fire spread internally so fast? Firefighters arrived at “a well developed and intense fire”.

Where were the fire stops, fire doors, and sprinkler systems one would expect in a building this size?

How many more lives must be lost or endangered before the fire regulations and inspection regime across Britain are adequate for purpose?
Ian McNicholas

Speaker had eyes for the House only

Speaker John Bercow, who announced his resignation on Monday, will be sorely missed.

Notwithstanding quite unwarranted criticism in some quarters, he has been judicious and impartial in the exercise of his office.

He is solidly in the tradition started by Speaker Lenthall in the 17th century at a time of remarkably similar clashes between the executive and the legislature.

We would all do well to remember what that gentleman said (in response to considerable pressure): “I have neither eyes to see nor tongue to speak in this place, but as the House is pleased to direct me, whose servant I am.”
Andrew McLuskey

Mayor can’t seem to focus on crime

After chatting to a member of staff from our local corner shop in Southfields, which was held up and robbed on Monday (for the second time this summer), and reading in that day’s Evening Standard about another two killings in Camden over the weekend, I got to thinking about what active measures Mayor Sadiq Khan is really taking to combat the crime wave affecting our city. Turning to the Comment section I got my answer. Nothing much, it would seem, as he spends much of his time pontificating on Brexit.
Mark Hayman