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10 May 2004 - 31 Dec 2004
Changes to Park Regulations - Speed lowered in Richmond Park
Richmond Park

The regulations governing the Royal Parks have been updated by Parliament, reflecting a number of new issues and rectifying deficiencies identified since the last revision in 1997.

These changes come into force on Monday 10th May 2004. From this date there will be a four week public information campaign from the Parks' management and Royal Parks police which will then lead on to full enforcement. Flagrant and deliberate breaches of the new regulations during the public information campaign will be responded to appropriately.

Richmond Park's speed limit has been reduced from 30mph to 20mph for three reasons:
- The Park has many visitors, including the elderly and people with mobility problems or young children, and they often need to cross the Park's busy roads (4,000 cars an hour during rush hour). A lower speed limit reduces the risk of accidents and, combined with additional road crossing points which we will be installing, will make the Park more accessible for pedestrians.
- Lower traffic speed will also reduce the frequency of vehicles hitting and killing the Parks' wildlife. This is not limited to major and very noticeable collisions with deer (currently an average of two deer are hit every month) as it also reduces the number of 'unseen' casualties, such as small mammals, birds, amphibians and insects, all of which play a role in the Park's internationally significant ecology.
- Reducing the speed of vehicles passing through the Park will reduce the noise of traffic, making the Park a quieter, calmer and more pleasant place for visitors. It is also good for the Parks' many birds (some of which are at risk or declining in numbers), whose breeding success has been shown to be adversely affected because traffic noise impinges on their songs.

The proposal to reduce the speed limit in the Park to 20mph was supported by a majority of respondents to the various consultations with local residents, community groups and boroughs on Richmond Park's traffic management. The most recent consultation (2002) found that 53% of those asked were in favour of reducing the speed limit.
William Weston, Chief Executive of The Royal Parks, said 'This measure has been introduced to increase visitor safety, protect the Park & its wildlife and to improve the quality of visitors' experience.'

In addition to the three key reasons given above, the reduction in the speed limit will bring the Park's roads into line with many of the surrounding roads, as well as contributing to general road safety.

Other changes to the regulations of the eight Royal Parks are:
- Children up to the age of ten will be allowed to cycle on park footpaths. Young children pose little risk to other park users and this will allow them to learn to cycle in safety.
- Dog fouling; it will be an offence to fail to clear up after your dog (at present it is an offence to allow your dog to make a mess, which is somewhat impractical). This will apply anywhere in a Royal Park (previously it applied only 'on paths and mown grass'); after all dog fouling is anti-social and unhealthy wherever it occurs. Registered guide dog owners are exempt.
- Lighting or causing fires in a Royal Park will now be an offence, restoring a regulation omitted in error from earlier regulations. This aims to prevent major blazes (a real danger in long, hot, dry spells) that could endanger the landscape, wildlife and visitors, as well as smaller fires that damage the fabric of the parks by burning holes in the turf.

- ENDS -

Source:
The Royal Parks

For further information contact:
The Royal Parks Press Office T: 020 7298 2128 E: press@royalparks.gsi.gov.uk

Editor's notes:
Research has made clear the effect on habitat quality of traffic noise, e.g. meadow bird populations suffer a reduction of 16% as result of traffic noise. This effect extends for several hundred meters beyond road and slowing the traffic will actually reduce the noise.

Sources: Journal of Applied Ecology (1995, vol 32, pgs 187-202), The effects of car traffic on breeding bird pops in woodland 3 ' Reduction of density in relation to the proximity of main roads, Reijen R, Foppen R, Ter Braak C, Thissen J; Biodiversity and Conservation (1997, vol 6, pg 567-581), Disturbance by traffic of breeding birds: Evaluation of the effect and considerations in planning and managing road corridors; Also - The effects of car traffic on breeding bird pops in woodland 4 ' Influence of population size on the reduction of density close to a high way, Reijen R, Foppen R, Veenbaas G.

Richmond Park is London's largest Site of Special Scientific Interest, a National Nature Reserve, a candidate European Special Area of Conservation and a Grade 1 Listed landscape. Species records for the Park include 49 grasses, rush and sedges; over 250 fungi; more than 1000 beetles; 546 butterflies and moths; 139 spiders; 144 birds; and 25 mammals.


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