Get and Win a 20mph Limit Council Motion

25% of the UK population live in local authorities where 20mph is normal for most urban and village roads.  Start with a survey, petition or gaining support from councillors or election candidates in manifestos. Speak direct to Councillors and the Director of Public Health. Public meetings are another route. Request that 20mph appears as a motion on Council agendas. Then lobby Councillors to promise their support.  

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20’s Plenty for Us supports communities wanting 20mph limits as a default across complete communites with exceptions where appropriate. When done with consistency and driver engagement on its benefits then speed bumps are rarely required.  Councillors set local road speed limits so ask elected people and candidates to promise 20mph.  Aim to persuade the ruling party (with most council seats) to block vote together.  For councils with no overall control your aim is to persuade over half of the Councillors for a YES! There are Councils where 20mph has won cross party unanimous support such as Camden and Liverpool.

Make community support tangible to demonstrate that 20mph is popular.  In large authorities, we recommend sample surveys, such as surveying every property in a sample of streets, or all the houses in one area. Both of these can be extrapolated.  Alternatively, do a petition – a template is here or use 38 degrees or  Ask a Councillor or democratic services (council meeting admin staff) how many names matter.  Anything over 100 shows effort. Get signatures quickly on doorsteps with a clipboard or where people might wait like school gates. Copy it and ask a friendly Councillor to submit it.

Request a 20mph Policy. If an election is imminent then suggest wide-area 20mph limits as a manifesto promise. Write to the party secretary and leader formally. A template letter here.  You might join the political party of the ruling group because paid up member suggestions have more weight. At any time you can ask for a party meeting to include 20mph and go to local political policy meetings to argue 20mph’s case.  The most powerful audience is the leader, cabinet member for transport and group of ruling party elected councillors.  Anyone can ask via the group secretary for a 10 minute agenda slot. Ask democratic services for the group secretary’s details.  A group meeting is for one colour of local politicians. Key policy decisions happen in private. See 

Also ask via the Director of Public Health citing 20mphs many health benefits and the Council’s responsibilities under the equality act as vulnerable road users should be protected. Stress the importance of multi-agency benefits and wide funding sources. Both are fairly unique to 20mph policies.

Hosting a public meeting where you invite all elected councillors raises 20mph’s profile.  Their email addresses and numbers are on your council site. Whenever a local politician agrees with wide 20mph, we recommend that you photo them holding a 20mph poster so they can show their SUPPORT.

Get a motion on a Council Agenda. Start with your parish, then borough, then County Council.  Only Councillors can submit motions. So please ask them!  In many cases the appropriate level with power is the county or city which is the traffic authority. Usually it is a unitary authority that has responsibility for traffic, but in some places this is delegated to local boards where parish/district Councillors hold sway.

Motion wording includes the context e.g.

”Road crashes are predictable and preventable. This Council aims to protect residents and visitors from road danger, air and noise pollution and encourage greater use of streets for sustainable travel, walking and cycling to raise public health for all ages and abilities”.

Next comes a paragraph about local circumstances, for instance groups asking for 20mph, petitions, statistics on injuries, air pollution, or local concerns eg to do with tourism. You could be wise to include a justification of what has changed since any previous 20mph motion that could allow agreement of default 20mph. 

“This Council notes the establishment of 20’s Plenty for yourplace, a petition of xxx names calling for 20mph, statistics of injuries, nearby places that have agreed 20mph, the aim to boost foot fall on shopping streets etc”

The final paragraph is about the action the Council, Councillors and officers will take forward e.g.

“In order to progress wide area 20mph limits, this Council will consider how best, and most cost effectively, including seeking a range of funding sources and agencies, to implement a policy for restricted roads to be set to 20mph unless decided otherwise.”  

We recommend that you ask for the Council to do some research on the most cost effective and multi agency way to implement 20mph. Then 20mph is fairly easy to agree.  Councillors are simply asking council officers to research and report on what the best 20mph options are. This leaves the Cabinet member for transport to choose how he or she brings the policy forward and at what cost to which agency. It doesn’t stipulate the funding methods or timescale. Adding these might be too restrictive.

Once you have the motion wording agreed and have got any party to put it on the Council agenda, then do lobby councillors via email and phone.  Ask them for a YES promise and count how many votes you have.  Don’t assume that there will be no votes or abstentions. It might be that every councillor agrees so please ask them all to commit to turn up and vote YES.

Register to speak. Members of the public can speak at Council meetings if registered before a deadline, usually a day or more ahead.  Contact your Council’s democratic services to register.  Reading a 20’s Plenty for Us briefing sheet is an easy way of arguing for 3 minutes.  There are not usually questions.

Get supporters along. Bringing supporters to wave 20mph signs in the audience and cheer those Councillors arguing in favour of 20mph also demonstrates 20mph’s popularity. Collect and email a supporter list and put out the meeting details in the press and social media to invite people.

Getting a 20mph motion on the agenda and passed at council are major breakthroughs towards funding and implementing 20mph signs.  We offer power points, or for 20’s Plenty branches we welcome invites to speak at Full Council, scrutiny or public meetings. We are always willing to help and offer advice taking into consideration the local campaigners knowledge of their council make up etc.

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