Meet the 20mph champion

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A Hebden Bridge woman has been announced as a road safety group’s Campaigner of the Year.

Myra James was awarded the honour by 20’s Plenty for Us for her campaign work to get 20mph speed limits rolled-out across Calderdale.

As founder of 20’s Plenty for Calderdale and an Upper Calder Valley Sustainable Transport Group member, Myra lobbied every political party and the Director of Public Health in Calderdale.

Myra achieved both a wide public consultation on and got a £520,000 local transport plan and £500,000 public health funding to implement 20mph limits across Calderdale streets over the next three years.

Anna Semlyen, national campaign manager for 20’s Plenty for Us, said “Myra James is an exceptional campaigner. Her promotion of 20mph limits has been of the highest quality.

“She is keen, yet modest, non-confrontational and universally respected by key decision makers in Calderdale.”

Myra said: “I accept this award on behalf of everyone who was instrumental in Calderdale’s success, including: Anthony Rae of FOE; Councillor Barry Collins; Director of Public Health Paul Butcher; and Councillor Janet Battye, whose vote in support of the Cabinet’s decision helped when 20mph was called in by the Scrutiny Panel. I’m proud to live in a place that cares about people and the planet.”

Plans for 20mph zones in Calderdale will be rolled-out from June and will initially be limited to central Halifax, Siddal, Skircoat Green, Southowram, Savile Park and Manor Heath.

The scheme has the support of road safety charities and Calderdale Council, but has been met with mixed reaction from local residents.

Adam Hird, owner of Hird Fisheries, Siddal, said: “Business-wise people who use this as a rat-run could avoid it.

“It does need it though, we have no zebra crossing and a couple of school kids have been knocked down.”

Kylie Sutton, from Siddal, said: “It’s a good idea because cars go zooming through here.

“At school times it’s bad - adults are road aware, but kids aren’t.”

Julie Cooper, owner of the Murgatroyd Arms, Skircoat Green, said: “Although this is good more changes are needed.

“Ravenscliffe School bring children out at all times of day and we need better crossing facilities.”

Gary Todd of Kenneth Todd and Son Butchers, Skircoat Green, said: “This wouldn’t be needed if they hadn’t changed all the parking and narrowed the road.”