Explaining action the department is taking to encourage 20 miles per hour speed limits on local roads.
Hello. My thanks to you all for making the time today (23 May 2013) to discuss what is a very important issue, both for road safety and to encourage more cycling and walking. I am sorry that I can’t be here in person, but wanted to take this opportunity to talk through the government’s views on 20 miles per hour (mph) speed limits.
The coalition government wants to see safe roads which meet the need of everyone, so it is important that councils have clear and consistent guidance to help them set appropriate speed limits on their roads. We believe that, wherever possible, local authorities should have the freedom to make their own decisions on such matters, so they develop responses that best suit the local communities who use the roads or live along them.
Earlier this year the department issued a revised speed limit guidance for local authorities. We also launched a new speed limit appraisal tool to help local authorities assess the full costs and benefits of any proposed speed limit schemes.
We did this so that local authorities would find it easier to introduce 20mph speed limits and 20mph zones on their roads where they believe it appropriate to do so. We have also introduced measures relaxing the signing requirements for some zones and limits, so reducing costs for local highway authorities.
As I mentioned, I believe the wider use of 20mph limits and zones can help encourage more people to cycle more often. This is a view I see is shared by the All Party Parliamentary Cycling Group as evidence in their recent report to which I will respond shortly.
20mph speed limits in residential streets can make life safer and more pleasant for residents, and 20mph limits in town centres can civilise those centres, boosting business and improving safety. It is indeed true that a slower place is often a better place.
Once again, my apologies for being unable to attend in person, but I hope you’re going to make good use of this opportunity to network, exchange ideas and best practice. I wish you a good conference.