Leeds Agrees and Fast Tracks its 20mph Roll-Out

Leeds City Council have agreed that 20’s Plenty with signed 20mph. Campaigners are celebrating this win to civilise home streets. 20’s Plenty for Leeds call for driver engagement for behavior change. Also for city centre 20mph limits near shops.

On 21st March Leeds’ Executive Board[1] led by Cllr Richard Lewis agreed 20mph will become the new speed limit for 90 additional areas with signage (rather than traffic calming) to hasten improvements.

20mph was already part of the Best Council Plan to make Leeds a Child Friendly City, improve transport and infrastructure and improve health and wellbeing, along with the Council’s Safer Roads Action Plan. However, until now it used traffic calming, which would have taken another four years at greater cost.  Now Leeds are doing signed 20 mph speed limits on an ‘installation and review’ basis where physical traffic calming measures will only be provided where monitoring shows them necessary to supplement the speed reducing effect of signed regulations.

Leeds will allocate £500,000 to complete 90 remaining 20mph speed limits in residential areas, funded from the West Yorkshire Local Transport Plan grant (ring fenced money for transport) beginning Spring 2018 till summer 2019.

Leeds is the second largest English metropolitan district, with over 715,000 people. Leeds, Sheffield, Calderdale and York all going residential area default 20mph are beacons for other Yorkshire authorities and elsewhere to follow. 25% of Britons live in UK places where 20mph is normal.  Worldwide 30mph is being ditched for 20mph as the emerging best practice norm where people matter more than vehicles.  The OECD[2], World Health Organisation (WHO)[3], Public Health England and a host of others all say 30km/h (20mph) must be the maximum where vulnerable road users mix with motorised traffic.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Leeds City Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Transport and planning, said:

The roll-out of 20mph zones has been done in a gradual way across residential areas of Leeds and has been in process for many years. To get buy-in from all political parties has taken some time, but we are very pleased to now be there. We are proud of our road safety record in Leeds and without question introducing 20mph zones has played a key part in that success. When the final part of the programme is completed early next year, the number of road injuries will continue to reduce, meaning our streets are safer for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike.

I look forward to seeing the remaining residential areas becoming 20mph zones to help protect our communities and residents and visitors as they go about their daily lives in the city.”

Mark Lansdown of 20’s Plenty for Leeds said: “I congratulate Councillors for choosing 20mph limits as a great way to make Leeds a better place to live.  I ask that they are supported by education to help drivers adjust behaviour. Also that Councillors will also change the 30mph city centre limit to 20mph as is best practice for public health, like Sheffield.”   


[1] Leeds 20mph Local Areas Speed Limit Programme  http://democracy.leeds.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=47413

[2] The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) http://www.20splenty.org/oecd_urban_20mph

[3] http://www.20splenty.org/duty_of_care_mandates_20mph

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