The go-ahead given for the extension of 20mph zones in Watford may be largely academic.

In practice, traffic crawls around Watford at the best of times. In fact a motorist would be doing well to reach 20mph in the first place.

20mph zones have been part of the government plan to tackle the rising number of fatalities from motoring accidents for a number of years, yet evidence on their success has been mixed: in one such scheme in Bath and Somerset, accident rates actually rose in 7 out of 13 areas after 20mph zones were implemented.

Portsmouth also saw fatality rates rise subsequent to the inclusion of the new 20mph limit.

Post mortem studies concluded the reason for the increase was that the public were lulled into a false sense of security, believing they were safe in 20mph zones and took less care, say, crossing the road.

Not only that, but in the absence of other measures such as traffic calming, mortality rates worsened.

To be an effective success 20mph zones must be supported by signs, speed humps, and of course enforced.

The good news is 20mph zones will rub it in good and proper that motoring really is the slowest, most costly and unhealthy way to travel in 2019.

Factor in the cost of filling up at the (not so nearby) filling station; the time spent trying to find a parking space, not to mention fines, many will conclude they would have been better off leaving the car at home.

Dave Degen

Whippendell Road, Watford