20mph Speed Limit on the Street where you live?

20mph Logo (Google images)

Have Your Say Now: 

A consultation on a lower speed limit on all residential streets in our borough is now taking place across our whole Borough of Wandsworth.

Please Respond to the Council’s Consultation

20mph Shaftesbury Estate, Robert -- Feb 2011

For years, more and more residents in every part of the borough have been pressing the Council to lower the speed limit from 30mph to 20mph in the interests of safety. But the only way we have been able to get the speed limit lowered has been a laborious process of petitioning the Council street by street. The result is a patchwork quilt with some streets remaining 30mph and others now 20mph. Sometimes, the speed limit even changes from one section of street to another.

The Council has now recognised that feeling is so widespread on this issue that the time has come to ask residents for their views across the whole borough. This is taking place now.

We residents are being asked our views mainly on changing the speed limit on residential roads. But the Council is also asking for our views on whether we want 20mph on some or all of its Main Traffic roads. These are usually roads that are partly residential and partly local shopping streets.

The proposed reduction in speed limit from 30mph to 20mph will not apply to the small minority of major roads which are managed by Transport for London (about 7% of the total).

How to respond to Wandsworth Council’s consultation

You can find it at http://www.wandsworth.gov.uk/info/200435/consultation/2100/borough-wide_20mph_speed_limit

You can also download a PDF of the Wandsworth Living Streets 20mph brochure here:        LEAFLET FINAL 17 2 2016 CRC

The consultation is on-line. It is very easy to indicate your Yes or No preference and will take only a minute or so.

In responding to the question about whether you also want 20mph on all or some of the 38 Main Traffic (A and B) roads, the questionnaire gives you a list and a map of these roads. Garratt Lane in Tooting and Northcote Road in Battersea are two examples. These roads are also where people live. In addition, they usually have shops and other local facilities. This means that there are far greater numbers of people on foot or bicycle on these socalled Main Roads than purely residential streets. There is a strong Road Safety case for most of them also to have a 20mph speed limit.

If you wish to respond in writing, phone the Council on 020 8871 6000, and ask for Mr Isaac Kwakye, or write to him at Engineering and Highways, Frogmore Complex, Dormay Street, SW18 1EY. This Officer will send you a printed Borough-wide 20mph Speed Limit Consultation response form which you can fill in and post back.
Closing date: The Council did not set a closing date when the Consultation went on its website. It is likely to be mid-May 2016.

Old York Road -- 20mph

Why 20mph on residential roads is good for all of us

All over the UK, local communities have voted to go 20mph. Today some 13½ million people live in towns and cities where their local authorities have implemented 20mph on residential roads. And in London, six boroughs now have 20mph on all their roads, with three more rolling it out during 2016. In Inner London over half the population now live on 20mph streets.

Fewer pedestrian casualties

In our Borough, there were 1,124 road casualties in 2014. This was an increase of 13% over the previous year. Of those injured, 200 were pedestrians – an increase of 23% over the previous year. A 20mph speed limit will reduce those numbers because drivers will have more time to react and avoid a collision.   According to the Highway Code, the typical stopping distance for a vehicle travelling at 20mph is only 40 feet, about half the distance (75 feet) for vehicles being driven at 30mph. Slower speeds also mean injuries tend to be less severe, in the event of a crash.

Fewer cyclists injured

Between 2000 and 2013, the proportion of road casualties who were cyclists in our borough rose from 12% to 29% of the total number of people injured. The actual number of cyclist casualties rose from 170 in 2000 to 290 in 2013. In 2014, the figure rose further to 324 – nearly one person injured in Wandsworth every day. Slower vehicle speeds will mean fewer injured cyclists.

Less rat-running

If all residential roads are 20mph, drivers will be less tempted to save time by using them.

Cleaner Air

Diesel engines, recent Imperial College research shows, produce fewer harmful emissions at 20mph than at 30mph. Slower, more smoothly flowing traffic also helps improve air quality.

Quieter streets

The faster a vehicle goes, the more noise its tyres and engine make. Slowing vehicles down will make our residential streets more peaceful.

Cutting congestion and delays on our roads

20 mph reduces the number of road collisions which are a major cause of traffic delays. 20mph, along with improvements in London’s public transport, also helps reduce the number of private vehicles on the road. This means less congestion and less delay for drivers who have to use their vehicles for work or other reasons.

Helping us be healthier

20mph makes our streets safer and more attractive for walking and cycling. Parents may then be more inclined to let their children walk or cycle to school. And the just over half of households who own cars in the borough may use them less for very short trips. So more of us, adults and children, may take the daily exercise good health requires.

Benefits for older people

Roads that are difficult to cross and are filled with noisy, fast-moving traffic, deter some older people from going out of their homes. A 20mph speed limit makes streets less intimidating. Older residents will feel more confident about going out to local shops and services, visit friends, and enjoy our parks and commons.

Less confusion for drivers

The present patchwork of different speeds on particular road is confusing for drivers. A general speed limit of 20mph on all residential roads will make things much clearer.

20mph notice on a Wandsworth street

20 mph – Frequently Asked Questions:

Will a 20mph speed limit be enforced? Many people who support 20mph in principle are deeply sceptical whether there is much point in having it because they feel the new speed limit is not going to be effectively enforced. Quite right.  Introducing a legal 20mph speed limit is only the first step.  But up and down the country, introducing 20mph is being followed by a series of measures to shift public attitudes generally, and driver behaviour in particular.  Here are some of the things being done:

  1. The Metropolitan Police – education of the public and enforcement: The Met has made clear that, subject to available resources, it will enforce a 20mph speed limit just as they do the 30mph limit. In Islington, for example, they began with driver education, and then moved on to enforcement. In the City of London last year, the Police stopped 1,226 HGV (heavy lorry) drivers, issued 550 Fixed Penalty Notices and £56,550 of fines were imposed. In addition, 749 car drivers were stopped. Those travelling between 21 and 24mph were ticked off and offered a speed awareness course. If they were travelling faster, they got Fixed Penalty Notices or summons.
  1. Community engagement by the Council: In Edinburgh, with a population only a third bigger than Wandsworth’s, the Council has allocated 10% of its 20mph programme to building community support. It has developed a toolkit of ideas, including a 20mph roadshow and brainstorming with schools’ Junior Road Safety Officers about ideas for promoting respect for the new 20mph speed limit. Wandsworth Council will need to engage in comparable actions as it already does with recycling, litter dropping and other issues.
  1. Community Roadwatch: This new programme is being introduced in all parts of London in April this year (2016). It allows residents to work with the police. Residents get training in using hand-held speed detection devices and warning letters can be issued as appropriate. If people are worried that the 20mph speed limit is being widely disregarded on a particular road or area, they can contact the Wandsworth Safer Transport Team by phone (020 8247 8688) or email.
  1. The law-abiding behaviour of the vast majority of drivers who conform to the 20mph speed limit. Because residential roads are rarely wide enough for speeding drivers to overtake, the behaviour of conscientious drivers will be a significant source of enforcement. And just as smokers now accept that it is irresponsible to smoke in pubs and other facilities, most drivers will come to recognise the benefits that slower speeds will bring to residential streets.

A 20mph speed limit is only a first step, yes. But we can’t move towards getting it respected by drivers in practice until that first step of introducing it is taken.

What roads will be affected? Residential roads in all parts of our Borough. Excluded are the 38 A and B ‘Main Roads’ managed by Wandsworth Borough. But the Council’s consultation lets us express our view whether some or all of these roads should also have a 20mph speed limit. Also excluded from the consultation are the small number of big roads, or ‘red routes’, managed by Transport for London.


You can download a PDF copy of this map here 20mph_ExcludedRoads

What is the Closing Date for Wandsworth Council’s Consultation? The Consultation opened on the Council’s website on 8 February 2016. No closing date was given. But it is likely the Consultation will end fairly soon after the London Mayoral and Assembly elections on 5 May.

What is the cost of changing the speed limit to 20mph? The Council estimates the cost of implementing 20mph on all residential roads across the whole borough at £820,000. Transport for London (TfL) has confirmed to the Council that, if there is a majority vote in favour of the 20mph speed limit, it will make the whole sum available for the work to proceed in this financial year 2016-17.

Who’s going to pay?  Not we Council Tax payers. Not Wandsworth Council. Transport for London (TfL) has committed itself to funding 20mph in those boroughs where residents want it.

Isn’t 20mph a way of ‘getting at’ car owners?  Nearly half Wandsworth households do not own a car. And those who do have a car don’t drive all or even most of their trips. They instead often use public transport or walk or cycle short trips. Car owners, whether driving or not, will benefit from the drop in the number of collisions that 20mph brings. What’s more, as safer roads encourage more people to walk or cycle short trips, congestion will be reduced for those who still need to use their vehicles for work or other purposes.

How much are cars likely to slow down by? Vehicles will probably slow down on average by only 1 to 2mph, but this leads to a much bigger drop in collisions. In Portsmouth, for example, its 20mph speed limit saw a 1.3mph drop in average speeds, but a 21% drop in collisions.

Will car journeys take longer? The Council is only proposing 20mph on residential roads. The typical car trip involves only a few hundred yards on such roads before getting to bigger roads that will still probably be 30mph. So only a few seconds will be added to car journeys. In London, there are two main factors making car journeys slow – queues at junctions and the density of traffic. Speed limits are largely irrelevant to journey times.

Will there be fewer collisions if 20mph is implemented? Yes. On urban roads with low traffic speeds, for every 1mph reduction in average speeds, the number of collisions falls by about 6 per cent.

Will any parking be lost? Not as a result of introducing a 20mph speed limit.

Will congestion on our roads increase as a result of a 20mph speed limit? No. Probably the reverse. Slower speeds means fewer collisions. Collisions cause congestion; so fewer collisions will mean fewer delays. What is more, as some car drivers start cycling or walking short trips, there will be fewer cars on the roads and less congestion.

Will 20mph mean more speed humps? No. A 20mph speed limit involves signage only, without the speed humps and other ‘traffic calming’ measures that have become the bane of drivers and cyclists in our Borough.

Will there be more speed cameras? No. Funding for installing speed cameras currently comes from the Mayor of London. No speed cameras will be installed as part of this proposal for 20mph on our residential roads.

Will the Council make money out of speeding fines? Enforcing 20mph will not raise money for the Council. Revenue from fines goes to the Government. Neither Wandsworth Council nor the Police will receive any income from a 20mph speed limit.

Will 20mph make any positive difference? Evidence from the many cities and areas in Britain where 20mph has become the new norm is that it makes a huge difference – reducing the number of collisions, reducing the severity of injuries, making local streets quieter, and improving people’s health by making it safer and pleasanter to walk or cycle short trips.

Don’t we already have 20mph on roads near schools? Yes. But children live in streets spread across the whole catchment area of their school. If we want to make children’s journeys to school safer, and encourage them to walk and cycle more, it is necessary to make all residential streets 20mph.

Will 20mph mean more street clutter? No. Currently, Wandsworth’s roads are a patchwork of different speed limits (20mph, 30mph, and 40mph). This requires a lot of signage. If all our residential roads were 20mph, this would mean, if anything, fewer speed limit signs.

Are other boroughs in Inner London going 20mph? Six London boroughs, including the City of London, now have 20mph on all the roads they manage. Three more are rolling it out this year (2016). Several others are in the process of consultation, decision-making or phased roll-out. The only remaining Inner London exceptions will be Westminster, and Kensington and Chelsea.

Will 20mph improve London’s appalling air quality? There are several main sources of air pollution in London – including diesel vehicles, Heathrow, and emissions from buildings. But as Cllr Jonathan Cook, Deputy Leader of Wandsworth Council, said in launching this 20mph borough-wide consultation, “A recent study by Imperial College found that diesel vehicles with engines of between 1.4l and 2.0l produce fewer harmful emissions at 20mph than at 30mph while smaller petrol and diesel engine vehicles both generate fewer particulates when driven at this lower speed.”

Isn’t the real road safety problem located on those more major roads that are not mainly residential? Around half of all collisions and injuries in London occur on the tiny minority (about 7%) of major roads controlled by Transport for London. There are also road safety problems on some Wandsworth Council-managed ‘mixed use’ roads – in particular, busy shopping streets where there are also lots of people living. Wandsworth Living Streets argues that such streets also need to be examined to see whether there is a road safety case for 20mph and whether local shopkeepers would benefit by transforming such streets into more attractive places where people will want to come and shop or use other local facilities.

These FAQs were prepared by Wandsworth Living Streets, February 2016.

20mph roundel on a Wandsworth road


4 thoughts on “20mph Speed Limit on the Street where you live?

  1. Well done for the info in this briefing sheet. I replied to the Wandsworth Council consultation on 20 mph limits of which I approve, but with some reservations.,I also want to see a Borough map of 20mph roads.

  2. The Doverhouse Estate has had a 20 mph limit for years now. It has made no difference and both buses and Wandsworths own vehicles all regularly exceed the limit by at least 5mph. I know this because they drive away from me when I’m doing 20 mph. The little street I live in is a Rat-run for vehicles avoiding the main thoroughfare of Doverhouse road. I have been led to understand that the Met, as it stands, has no remit to police 20 mph limits in Wandsworth at present. If drivers know it’s not being enforced they will carry on speeding. I think it is a good idea, but I see no point submitting to the consultation unless there is a commitment to police the 20 mph limit.

    1. You are quite right. Many people who support 20mph in principle are deeply sceptical whether there is much point in having it because they feel the new speed limit is not going to be effectively enforced. Introducing a new legal 20mph speed limit is only the first step. But up and down the country, introducing 20mph is being followed by a series of measures to shift public attitudes generally, and driver behaviour in particular. In London, one particularly important thing is happening, and Wandsworth Living Streets will be encouraging residents to take advantage of it. It is called Community Roadwatch. This new programme, a joint initiative of Transport for London and the Met, is aimed at the effective enforcement of speed limits in London generally. It is being introduced in all parts of Greater London from April this year (2016). Residents will get training in using hand-held speed detection devices. The speeds and number plates of vehicles violating the speed limit go to the Police who then issue warning letters to offenders and take further action as appropriate. If persistent violation of the speed limit is detected by residents, the Met will target the street in question. This may prove the biggest shake-up on our local streets in many years. See https://tfl.gov.uk/corporate/safety-and-security/road-safety/community-roadwatch?cid=communityroadwatch Robert Molteno WLS Secretary

  3. My thanks for the information tgbuk24muse, a very positive step indeed regards members of the public using official handheld detectors. I await with interest the statistics that come from Doverhouse road and Dover Park Drive/Sunnymead road (the rat-runs). My estimate during rush hour is that offenders will be 90%+, given a leeway of 3mph above the limit. I am a walker/cyclist/driver so I think I see most sides to this and I have to agree with you that it is fundamentally a case of changing peoples attitudes.

Comments are closed.