OPINION - The Standard View: Twenty is often plenty — but not on every road

 (Christian Adams)
(Christian Adams)

London is now, on balance, a 20mph city. The speed limit on more than half of the capital’s roads has fallen, driven by local councils as well as Transport for London curtailing limits on its Red Routes over the last decade.

And while no panacea, we know that the change saves lives. Data from TfL shows that the number of collisions resulting in death or serious injury fell by a quarter when compared with the period before lower speed limits were implemented. Red Routes make up for only five per cent of the city’s roads but account for 30 per cent of its traffic.

However, judicious implementation remains paramount. First, because it is not obviously clear that the infrastructure exists to enforce such a policy, which can only be done by police. But more broadly, not every major road requires a 20mph limit. Such a blanket policy would fail to take into account the realities of driving in London, something many people still need to do on a daily basis.

Starmer’s gamble

It is a measure of Labour’s growing confidence that its leader has taken to the airwaves and plastered the papers to promote his big new policy on asylum. Sir Keir Starmer has set out his plans to tackle the issue of small boats, which includes committing to the establishment of a new police unit, treating people smugglers like terrorists and setting up a returns agreement with the European Union.

This is not a risk-free move. Rishi Sunak’s failure to “stop the boats” has damaged his standing with the public, while migrants continue to imperil their lives by making the dangerous crossing. Sir Keir says he wants Britain to “lead the continent” on this. But any deal with Europe, however necessary, threatens to reopen questions about his position on a second EU referendum, a chapter the Labour leader would rather voters forget.

The right policy will be both humane and effective. Sir Keir will be aware that any deal with Europe involving returns is likely to require Britain accepting more legal safe routes. That will be a matter for future negotiations with the European Commission. But first, he must make his case to the British people.

Fashion capital

London Fashion Week kicked off in style last night, with a dramatic show by Harris Reed. There is plenty more excitement to come, from the likes of JW Anderson, Burberry and Molly Goddard taking to the catwalk.

Be sure to keep an eye out on the capital’s streets for models, designers and the glitterati flashing their latest designs.