THE continuing correspondence about the proposed 20 mph limits across the three towns – mostly against them – shows how unpopular they would be.

Cllr Dove “believes passionately in making roads safer”. If she thinks 30 mph is unsafe (even dangerous) and 20 mph is “safer”, then 10 mph would be safer still. And Colin Harper’s suggestion of a 5 mph limit with red flags preceding every vehicle makes even more sense.

While slower speeds should mean reduced injuries in the event of accidents, the belief that they would produce less pollution that the 30 mph limit would not be the case. Not only does concentrating to maintain this new speed limit require frequently taking one’s eyes off the road to look at speedometers, it also means more frequent braking and use of lower gears – both of which reduce the efficiency of petrol and diesel engines. They require a minimum rate of revolutions, and that is the same whether the vehicle is doing 30 or 20 mph. Hence very similar exhaust emissions, but for much longer periods of time at 20 mph. This applies to cars, vans, lorries, buses, ambulances, fire engines, police cars, etc.

The belief that 20 mph limits will make people forsake private transport for either pedal cycles or buses ignores the conurbation’s age profile; and the practicalities for anyone in business or in daily life. With an older than average age profile, many people are incapable of taking to bicycles or even tricycles to go shopping, visit doctors or hospitals; and hard pressed to walk distances with shopping trolleys, especially in bad weather. The cash-strapped BCP can spend thousands of pounds on wide cycle lanes, but that does not mean they will be used to any great extent.

The 80 per cent plus of survey respondents against extensive 20 mph zones is not to be ignored. But it seems it will be. BCP councillors make up a tiny minority of the local population, but – once elected – they can take the most undemocratic decisions. Another is the £2 a night per person tourist tax, to be imposed on hotel guests. £2 this year, £5 next year? And what the year after?

When VAT was brought in, the rate was 10 per cent; it is now widely 20 per cent.

Rationality is one thing. National or local government is something very different.

Perhaps because of those who seek to be councillors, MPs, etc. It is in the genes.

Eric Hayman

Bradpole Road,