Important new wins for 20mph speed limits in London

Rapid progress on 20mph speed limits is continuing in London as Lewisham announces its timetable for the introduction of a 20mph limit across the borough. Lewisham plans to bring in its borough-wide limit by July 2016. By that date 10 of the 13 inner London boroughs will have borough-wide 20mph limits. The 20mph movement is also gaining momentum in the outer London boroughs with five boroughs rolling out 20mph policies across their streets. 

The London Borough of Lewisham has just confirmed its timetable for introducing a 20mph speed limit on its borough-managed roads and streets[1]. The scheme will be designed over the next six months so that by March 2016 the borough will be ready to issue the traffic orders that are needed and implement the scheme between March and July 2016. This makes good the promise of Mayor Sir Steve Bullock in the aftermath of the May 2014 local elections to introduce a 20mph limit in Lewisham.

2016 will be a watershed year for 20mph in London. Less than a year from now, 10 out of the 13 inner London boroughs will have policies that see 20mph as the default speed limit on all or almost all borough roads. In inner London almost two-thirds of residents (66%) will be living on 20mph roads – a total of more than 2,000,000 people. Across the whole of London almost two-fifths of all Londoners (38%) will be living on 20mph roads - a total of more than 3.3 million people.

The quiet revolution that began to make London’s streets and roads fairer for those who walk and cycle and spend more time outside where they live as well as leading happier healthier lives is now spreading far into outer London. In the last few months we have learned that a number of the outer boroughs are bringing in wide-ranging 20mph speed limits:

•   In July, Croydon confirmed that residents had voted to introduce a 20mph limit across almost all of the streets in the north of the borough.

•   Hounslow is currently consulting on 20mph on all residential roads and streets where there is significant pedestrian activity.

•   In July, Ealing announced the introduction of a new urban speed limit policy which would establish a 20mph speed limit in residential areas and town centres.

As well as these changes on the borough-managed roads, Transport for London continues to support 20mph on its Red Route network with the recent introduction of 20mph on Commercial St E1 and with its plans to trial 20mph in seven other key sites in central London.

And 20mph limits featured in a recent film by StreetFilms of New York on how the streets of the City of London were being transformed[2].

Jeremy Leach London Campaign Co-ordinator for 20’s Plenty for Us said:-

 “The momentum that we have seen in the last few years for 20mph in London shows no sign of slowing down. Lewisham’s timetable for going 20 means that the vast majority of the roads in inner London will be 20mph a year from now. 20mph limits are catching on too in a number of outer London boroughs. These changes herald a new era for London when roads and streets are safer and people feel free to walk and cycle more. The overall result will be a far fairer and people-friendly city for its rapidly growing population.”

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  • Rod King
    commented 2015-10-07 21:36:53 +0100

    Thank you for your comment. However, I would suggest that if you drove 14 miles across London, then unless you were taking all residential roads then very little of it would have been on roads with 20mph limits. I would further suggest that your average speed was not due to the speed limit but due to the number of cars on the roads. You will find data on our site which shows that 20mph limits actually reduce emissions from diesel cars.

    The comment about speed bumps increasing emissions is only where people illegally speed between the bumps. It is acceleration which causes most emissions, plus brake and tyre emissions from braking. Hence this is not a factor in the wide-area 20mph limits without speed bumps that we campaign for.
  • Martyn Hopkins
    commented 2015-10-07 14:08:57 +0100
    This is absolute nonsense. 20MPH speed limits are reducing the capital to a crawl.

    I drove across London yesterday through 20MPH limits and my onboard computer calculated that I averaged 7mph in the journey of 14 miles which took me TWO HOURS!!!!!

    Two hours of diesel emissions whereas at sensible speeds not causing bottlenecks at key junctions, I could have done the journey in 20 – 30 minutes.

    Mr King – think about the consequences and not the beguiling headline idea that 20mph “simply must be good” FIND OUT!

    I also heard some new analysis (although i did not catch who did it) that show that speed bumps cause a massive spike in emissions from all engines. Where’s the sense in that???