Ten frequently asked questions.

1. Why 20mph?
Approximately 70% of the through roads in Stonesfield have no pavements and there are sections which are not wide enough for two vehicles.

The stopping distance of a vehicle travelling at 30mph is twice the distance of a vehicle travelling at 20mph. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) states that 45% of pedestrians get killed when struck by a car going at 30mph or less but only 5% when going at 20mph or less.

2. Who asked for 20?
In October 2018 a survey was delivered to each household in Stonesfield. Over 300 responses were received and 70% of residents wanted a 20mph limit. After considering the report, the Parish Council decided to press Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) for a change to 20mph in Stonesfield.

In September 2021 OCC published notice of a consultation document asking residents for comment. This notice appeared in The Stonesfield Slate, local papers and on the OCC’s website. In November 2021, after considering the responses, OCC authorised the implementation of 20mph in Stonesfield.

3. Who paid for it?
The Parish Council contributed to the legal costs, necessary when making changes to road speeds / layouts,  with financial support from Andy Graham, Stonesfield’s Oxfordshire County Councillor. OCC Highways paid for all the signage works.

4. What’s happening elsewhere?
Currently a number of Oxfordshire towns and villages already have 20mph limits. Witney has recently voted for a 20mph limit in the town. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-oxfordshire-62255321

OCC’s 20mph Policy and New Approach proposes to reduce limits in approximately 85 per cent of areas currently set at 30mph on the back of “huge local interest and desire” from residents. Since OCC approved the new 20mph policy in October 2021, 70 communities have applied to be included in the scheme.

Further afield, Wales has voted for all 30mph limits to be reduced to 20mph. https://gov.wales/uk-first-welsh-senedd-gives-green-light-20mph-legislation

5. Has traffic been measured?
At the request of the Parish Council, OCC carried out surveys of vehicle volumes and speeds within Stonesfield in 2019 & 2020 which showed that 14,000 vehicles went through Stonesfield each week. In 2019 there had been a 5% increase in traffic volume in Woodstock Road since an earlier survey in 2017. Within Stonesfield, 6.5% of vehicles were travelling at over 35mph and during one week over 300 vehicles were recorded exceeding 40mph.

Further data has been collected in 2021 by the Parish’s two Speed Indicator Devices (SIDs) reflect this trend with 82mph being the highest speed recorded inside the 30mph limit on Woodstock Road. As well as reminding drivers of their speed, the SIDs continue to monitor speeds and their data is reported to the Parish Council each month.

6. What’s changed?
Since the 20mph limit was introduced in February 2022, data collected by the SIDs shows

  • A similar percentage of vehicles continue to travel at over 30mph.
  • More vehicles are now traveling between 20mph and 25mph and therefore average speeds have slightly dropped.
  • Maximum speeds recorded are slightly reduced however vehicles are still being recorded at over 50mph on Woodstock Rd and Laughton Hill.

7. Is 20 enforceable?
Yes. Thames Valley Police Chief Constable John Campbell said: “Sometimes I think the message can get a bit confused from Thames Valley Police. Ultimately, if 20mph is the speed limit then we will enforce it like we would for 30, 40 or 50 miles per hour.”

The police usually allow some leeway so drivers at 23mph or slower will not be prosecuted. At 23mph most vehicles’ speedometers will read 25mph (or more).

8. What is CSW?
Community Speedwatch (CSW) are volunteers trained and supervised by Thames Valley Police (TVP). Using TVP approved equipment they are authorised to carry out roadside speed checks.

Where a vehicle is travelling in excess of the permitted speed, CSW volunteers record the speed and vehicle details. These are then passed on to TVP who will contact the driver. Drivers can not be prosecuted for speeding using data collected by CSW alone however those who persistently exceed the speed limits will be followed up and talked to by the police.

However vehicles that are uninsured, untaxed or without MoT will be targeted by the police and DVLA, with vehicles liable to seizure and drivers to prosecution.

9. Who can join CSW?
Any Stonesfield resident can ask to join Stonesfield CSW. As a CSW volunteer, you would receive full training, be issued with personal protective equipment (PPE) and be covered by TVP’s and Stonesfield Parish Council’s insurance. You would be part of a team running speed surveys in the village during daylight hours. Click here to volunteer.

10. Why did CSW stop?
Stonesfield Parish Council authorised CSW to start in mid 2019 and CSW worked with TVP to set it up. However CSW ceased everywhere when Covid restrictions came into force. It did not restart in 2021 as there were a number of road closures for Gigaclear.

In the meantime TVP had changes the way CSW was administered and run so it has taken time for Stonesfield CSW to meet their new requirements (which include purchasing a new speed radar).

CSW restarted in June 2022 and in the first six weeks over 50 vehicles were reported to TVP.