20 Mph Enforcement in Islington

Islington now has a 20 m.p.h. limit on all roads under its control.  This now includes all main roads (formerly it was just residential ones) but excluding Tfl controlled ones like the A1 Holloway Road.  This is perceived by most residents to be nothing more than anti-car gesture politics on the part of Islington council.

This borough-wide restriction has now been in force for about a year or so.  The police have said it is an unnaturally slow speed on main roads and they have not got the time or resources to enforce it.  According to one local resident, on the main roads it is widely disregarded, not just by private motorists, but by buses, police cars not on response calls, council vehicles etc.  However, the police have recently been pushed into giving this Islington council policy some teeth, namely by the one Green councillor.

They are now setting up the odd speed trap with hand-held radar guns. One person was caught doing 27 m.p.h. on her way into work, incurring a £100 fine and three points on her licence.  This was on a bus route, and it’s worth noting that the speed trap was set up near a bus stop, so speeding buses would be slowing down on its approach and the police would therefore not have to pull them in.

Comment: It is often claimed by the advocates of wide-area 20 mph schemes that it will have little practical impact on residents and the police would be unlikely to enforce an unreasonable limit, partly because the technology has not been certified to do so and partly because they do not have the resources. The experience in Islington just shows that this is not the case. If a 20-mph limit is introduced you will in due course be forced to adhere to it, whether it is reasonable for the road conditions or not.

Roger Lawson

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