Limit to apply to all streets other than A roads from early 2010

Next month, Islington will become the first London Borough to introduce a 20mph speed limit on all residential streets. A 30mph limit will be retained on A roads in the borough.

The measure is designed to improve road safety and alleviate traffic congestion and pollution. Unlike existing 20mph zones within Islington, there will be no traffic calming measure, with signs and road markings highlighting the new speed limit.

Islington Cyclists Action Group has supported the council’s efforts towards implementing the lower limit, saying: “Lower speed limits turn streets into living spaces not sterile stretches of tarmac. They create and re-invigorate communities. They save lives. Lower speed limits smooth traffic low and cut pollution.”

According to the Islington Gazette, the introduction of a blanket 20mph speed limit across the borough was first proposed in February this year by Green Party Councillor Katie Dawson, who reportedly convinced the ruling Liberal Democrat and opposition Labour parties last February to set aside cash for the initiative in the 2009/10 budget.

Since then, the council has consulted with local residents, sending out more than 46,000 consultation documents to homes across the borough. Replies were received from nearly one in four of those households, 61% of which were in favour of the 20mph limit.

Greg Foxsmith, Islington Council's Liberal-Democrat executive member for environment, told the Islington Gazette: "A blanket 20mph zone is a bold step, but it's what our residents want and deserve." 

The move to a 20mph speed limit is now expected to be followed by several other London boroughs. Similar measures have already been implemented elsewhere, with Oxford having introduced a 20mph limit on residential streets earlier this year and Glasgow City Council is considering following suit.

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.