20 Mph Speed Limit on Major London Roads

London Mayor Sadiq Khan has announced measures to improve road safety in London including a 20-mph speed limit on all major roads within the Congestion Charge zone. That will include such major arteries as the Embankment and Upper/Lower Thames Street. In addition he will be encouraging local London boroughs to introduce the same limit on TfL controlled roads in 32 town centres.

He is also proposing to improve 73 junctions which have been identified as those with the worse road safety record. These proposals are part of the Mayor’s “Vision Zero” policy which attempts to eliminate deaths and serious injuries on the roads.

Comment: Campaign Director Roger Lawson had these comments on the proposals:

The Mayor trots out those old misleading claims that reducing speed limits will remove almost all fatal and serious accidents. This is simply not borne out by the facts. For example, the City of London Corporation that covers the square mile introduced a blanket 20-mph speed limit in 2014. It had negligible impact on overall casualty figures, minor injuries actually increased and there were 2 fatalities in that area in 2016 – see references below. The results of signed-only 20 mph schemes have been very mixed and a Government report on the subject is still awaited.

Although the “Vision Zero” concept might make for good media coverage it does not necessarily help if ill-informed road safety policies are introduced. The reduction in speed limits will slow traffic causing additional costs in increased journey times and the police will no doubt be vigorously enforcing these new limits.

Many people will say that with average London traffic speed now nearer 10 mph than 20 mph, it may not make much difference. But that is not always the case. For example, outside rush hour times traffic moves much faster than 20 mph on many parts of the TfL road network (the “red routes”). This just looks like another attempt by the Mayor to remove all vehicles from the streets of London so as to achieve his vision of almost no private vehicle use (including cars, LGVs, taxis and PHVs) as spelled out in his Mayor’s Transport Strategy.

The only sensible part of his proposal is to improve junctions where there is a known poor accident record. Otherwise this latest move to slow traffic in London is another nail in the coffin of an efficient road transport network for our capital city. Sadiq Khan is surely the most incompetent London Mayor we have yet had.

Those who oppose this proposal should contact their Greater London Assembly Member (see: https://www.london.gov.uk/people/assembly ) or write to the Mayor himself: https://www.london.gov.uk/contact-us-form .

Roger Lawson


The Mayor of London’s Press Release is given here: https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/boldest-ever-plan-to-eliminate-deaths-on-the-roads

Report on the City of London 20-mph scheme: https://freedomfordrivers.blog/2015/10/09/city-of-london-20-mph-scheme-first-results/

TfL Road Casualties in 2016: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/casualties-in-greater-london-2016.pdf

The Mayor’s Transport Strategy and our comments on it: http://www.freedomfordrivers.org/against-mts.htm

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3 thoughts on “20 Mph Speed Limit on Major London Roads

  1. Research shows that emissions from vehicles increases at speeds below 30 mph when measured in g/km. A car travelling at 30 mph will take 2 mins to cover a mile. At 20 mph this will take 3 mins. Clearly the slower speed contributes to 1 min extra emissions. Also cars are less efficient at speeds below 30 mph due to the operating rpm of the engine and use of lower gears. This is particularly true of petrol vehicles – less so for diesels which are being discouraged from entering the city.

  2. I don’t believe most drivers are aware of these forthcoming changes. Any chance of raising awareness [maybe in conjunction with the AA/RAC etc] so that any forthcoming consultations would have proper representations? 20mph makes absolute sense on narrow residential side streets, but there could be negative consequences if this was applied on major roads [some of which are outlined above]
    best wishes

    • We have already circulated information on this to a large number of people who have registered interest in our campaign against the Mayor’s Transport Strategy (see http://www.freedomfordrivers.org/against-mts.htm ) which this latest proposal is just another symptom of. In addition have covered it in our blog, twitter account and it will be in our newsletter. But if you have other suggestions for raising awareness please let me know.

      Roger Lawson

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