The Department for Transport (DfT) has given new powers to local authorities to introduce 20mph zones by relaxing requirements for speed limit signage. The move, which follows reports that Liverpool City Council is planning to extend 20mph zones to 70 per cent of the city’s roads, has been welcomed by the campaign group, 20’s Plenty for Us.
Under the new regime, councils will be able to indicate 20mph zones using measures such as repeater signs, painted markings on the road or mini-roundabouts.
The measures are intended to make it easier to incorporate existing, isolated 20mph zones within new, wider ones subject to the same speed limit, as well as making it cheaper to introduce them.
Norman Baker, Under Secretary of State for Transport commented: “I want to end the era of top-down government by providing a radical devolution of power to local authorities and communities. These changes will reduce costs for councils wanting to use 20mph schemes, allowing them to act faster in response to the needs of their local residents while still ensuring that drivers know what speed they should drive at."
Rod King, Founder and Campaign director for 20’s Plenty for Us said: “For some time we have been lobbying central government to ease the technical requirements for signage which was very much designed around earlier, isolated 20mph zones.”
The group is campaigning for 20mph to be made the default speed limit in residential areas without the need for physical traffic-calming measures such as speed bumps.
“This is an excellent example of how community values and aspirations across the country are nudging government to rethink its rules to enable that change to take place,” continued Mr King.
“Our campaign for 20mph speed limits as the default on residential roads has the support of the majority of the electorate,” he claimed, citing the National Centre for Social Research’s British Social Attitudes Survey 2010, which found 71 per cent of respondents in favour of the reduced speed limit.
He continued: “We now have over 5m people living in towns, villages and counties with a Total 20 policy. The number of new communities wishing to implement this quality-of-life enabling policy is rapidly expanding and we expect this number to double by 2012.
Mr King concluded: “20 really is Plenty where people live and these new changes reflect the success and popularity of this move towards a safer and more pleasant street environment for us all.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.