Wandsworth 20 MPH Limits Unenforceable?

I commented previously on the use of PCNs to enforce 20 mph speed limits on certain roads in the London Borough of Wandsworth – see links below. After exchanging numerous emails with the Council and looking into the relevant Acts of Parliament I have come to the conclusion that they have no proper legal grounds for issuing PCNs in these circumstances.

They claim to have taken two legal reviews which supports their stance. But why two? Did the first one not give the right answers?

After my last question to them they simply said “It would appear we are at an impasse, legal advice is privilege information and I have nothing further to add at this time”, i.e. they seem to be stumped for an answer.

Our advice to anyone who receives a PCN for exceeding a 20-mph speed limit in Wandsworth is to challenge it and take it to appeal to London Tribunals.

We are considering a wider legal challenge and if anyone would like to assist with that please contact me (tel: 020-8295-0378 during office hours).

The Council claims to be relying on the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003. (LLA &TfL Act 2003) and the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. (RTR Act 84).  Specifically Section 4(5)(a) of the LLA&TfL Act 2003 that allows for Penalty Charge Notices to be issued for contravening a Prescribed Order. I pointed out that a prescribed order can only apply where there is a contravention of a traffic sign listed in Schedule 3 of the London Local Authorities and Transport for London Act 2003. There is no 20 mph sign limit listed in Schedule 3. And Section 4(6)(a) says: “No penalty charge shall be payable under subsection (5)(a) above where—(a) the person acting in contravention of the prescribed order also fails to comply with an indication given by a scheduled section 36 traffic sign; or….”. They also claimed support of Section 84 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 which specifically refers to “Speed limits on roads other than restricted roads” so only applies to non-restricted roads.  The roads under discussion are almost certainly “restricted roads”.

The legislation in this area is exceedingly complex and difficult to understand but I believe they have simply misinterpreted it in their enthusiasm to raise money from drivers who might not challenge PCNs.

20 Mph speed limits may be enforceable by the police but Councils have no authority to issue PCNs for breaches of 20 mph limits in our view.

How to Object: https://freedomfordrivers.blog/2022/11/19/wandsworth-20-limit-evasion-and-how-to-object/

Money Making Wheeze: https://freedomfordrivers.blog/2022/10/27/a-new-money-making-wheeze-for-london-councils/

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

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Wandsworth 20 Limit Evasion and How to Object

I commented previously on the new scheme to enforce a 20-mph speed limit by the London Borough of Wandsworth – see https://freedomfordrivers.blog/2022/10/27/a-new-money-making-wheeze-for-london-councils/

I have asked the Council to provide information on what public consultation took place on this proposal and a copy of the Traffic Management Order (TMO) used to impose it (which was not published anywhere so far as I can see). They provided the latter but were very evasive about the former even though they claim they received 23 responses. I am pursuing it further.

But I have sent in an objection to the TMO as follows and I suggest readers do the same.

To the London Borough of Wandsworth

Email address:  TrafficAndEngineering@richmondandwandsworth.gov.uk

I refer to “The Wandsworth (Prescribed Routes) (20mph Speed Limit) Experimental Order 2021”

Please note our objections to this Order for the following reasons:

1. The 20-mph limit on the roads concerned is likely to have very little, if any, impact on road casualties. I quote from a recent article in the Daily Mail: “Researchers from Queen’s University Belfast, Edinburgh University and the University of Cambridge collected data on traffic collisions, casualties, driver speed and traffic volume before a 20mph limit was introduced, as well as one and three years afterwards.

Their study encompassed 76 streets in the city centre, and they compared data with that collected from nearby streets where the restrictions did not apply. Analysis showed that when compared with the sites that had retained their speed limits, a 20mph speed limit was associated with little change in short or long-term accident statistics.

Small reductions in road traffic collisions of 3 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively, were observed one and three years after the policy took effect. But there was no statistically significant difference over time, the researchers said.

Similarly, casualty rates fell by 16 per cent and 22 per cent, respectively, one and three years after implementation – but these reductions also weren’t statistically significant”.

2. The above evidence is similar to what the DfT reported some years ago and you can read our comments on that here: https://freedomfordrivers.blog/2018/11/23/no-road-safety-benefit-from-20-mph-schemes/ . Limits of 20 mph typically only reduce traffic speeds by 1 mph which is not noticeable in practice.

3. The roads on which you are enforcing the 20 limit are inappropriate for a 20 limit. For example Wimbledon Park Road is a straight and relatively wide road which drivers will not perceive as needing a 20 limit. Is there really a road safety problem in this road?

4. The ability of the Council to enforce such a limit via the issue of PCNs rather than have police pursue a prosecution suggests the motive for the scheme is to enable the Council to collect money from fines rather than to improve road safety.

5. We have studied the relevant Acts of Parliament referred to in the TMO and we cannot see that they enable enforcement of the 20 limit in this way by Wandsworth Council. London Councils certainly have powers to enforce parking restrictions, road closures and certain other traffic offences but we do not see that this extends to 20-mph speed limits. Please point out exactly which provisions in those Acts are being relied upon.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

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Petition to Halt Spread of 20 MPH Speed Limits  

A petition on Change.org has been created by James Burdass which reads: “Stop every road in London having a 20mph Speed limit”.

More details say “Let’s face it, every driver knows that London is grinding to a halt under the Mayor’s transport policies. So why is it that we need more expensive to implement new anti-car 20mph speed limits?

The Mayor has said that all Red Routes within the Congestion charging zone will have 20mph limits. Yes, the main roads not the high street or residential roads. Just outside the zone, Park Lane goes from 40mph to 20mph. Progress?

For more than half a century 30mph has been the default urban speed limit in the UK. 20mph limits are expensive to implement, wasting scarce road related funding that could be better spent elsewhere, create more pollution on our streets, lead to more congestion and do not deliver the benefits in terms of casualty reduction that proponents expected.https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/20-mph-speed-limits-on-roads

20mph leads to slower speeds for everyone and that includes bus passengers and ambulances looking to get people to hospital. Rather than winning hearts and minds it is the backs and spines that are affected.

It is time that this was rolled back and London’s main roads restored to 30mph.

Please sign it here: https://chng.it/C6pwgJ6FfM

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Another “A” Road in London Reduced to 20 MPH

Transport for London (TfL) are proposing to reduce the speed limit on Battersea Park Road (the A3205) to 20 MPH along the whole length. In addition they are proposing a new segregated cycle lane and other minor changes to the road.

Why are they proposing these changes? To quote from the TfL document: “These changes seek to create a sustainable transport spine through the Nine Elms opportunity area, providing benefits to both the existing and future residents, and workers. The road layout along this stretch of Battersea Park Road is very constrained due to the railway arches and level of activity along the road. The proposals in this consultation would create an improved cycle link between CS8 to the west and CS5 to the east. They would improve connectivity and allow for increases in cycling demand that are anticipated to be generated by the new town centre emerging at Battersea Power Station, while providing safer separated sections of cycle track. The proposals would also provide more direct pedestrian crossings and more space to interchange between buses and trains at Battersea Park station. Overall, this will create a destination where people are encouraged to walk, cycle and use public transport. The proposals are fully funded through third party contributions from the regeneration along Battersea Park Road and Nine Elms Lane”.

As usual with TfL proposals of late there is no cost information provided or cost/benefit justification.

But it’s yet another example of TfL slowing down road traffic on major roads in London. Make sure you object by responding to the public consultation here: https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/battersea-park-road?

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Clogging Up London’s Road Network

The road network in central London is being destroyed by the actions of Transport for London (TfL) and local boroughs. When roads are closed or congestion made worse by bus or cycle lanes, then the whole network grinds to a halt. Recent new examples are:

King Street/Chiswick High Road Cycle Lane Scheme. See photograph above of the congestion this has caused. The cycle lane impedes emergency vehicles, is dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, increases congestion and hence pollution, ended the King Street bus lane, and reduces parking space which negatively affects local businesses. The congestion doesn’t just stop on King Street. Hammersmith Road, Hammersmith Gyratory, and Fulham Palace Road have all become completed jammed at peak hours which affects the entire Borough.

There is now a petition on Change.org calling for its removal. Please go here to sign:  https://chng.it/65WC85hWgD  

London Bridge and Borough High Street.  In the east of London, TfL introduced an experimental scheme on London Bridge and in Borough High Street in Spring 2020 using the Covid epidemic as an excuse. They are now proposing to extend these schemes for another six months. It effectively closed London Bridge to all traffic except pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, buses and taxis.

See  https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/london-bridge-corridor and https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/borough-high-street .

TfL are now proposing to extend both schemes for a further six months using an experimental traffic order with another consultation exercise. They claim it has reduced bus journey times but that is hardly surprising when traffic and people in central London have been much reduced by the Covid pandemic.

This scheme is totally unjustifiable as it removes one of the key London river crossings for most traffic and effectively closes that part of the City to vehicles. You can send comments on the latest decision to haveyoursay@tfl.gov.uk

Aldwych Scheme. While I was writing this blog post I received a telephone call complaining about the revised road layout on Aldwych and Kingsway. This has substantially increased traffic congestion in the area and many taxi drivers are complaining about it. It’s yet another defective traffic scheme introduced by TfL for no clear benefit.

Slowing Traffic with 20 Limits. Apart from slowing traffic with more congestion caused by the above schemes, TfL is now proposing to impose lower speed limits on several major roads. Four 20mph speed limits will be introduced, including the A10 – A503 corridor in Haringey, the A13 Commercial Road in Tower Hamlets, the A23 London Road in Croydon and the A107 corridor in Hackney. In addition, a 30mph speed limit has been introduced on a section of the A10 Great Cambridge Road in Enfield and Haringey.

These reductions are aimed at cutting casualties as part of its Vision Zero commitment to reduce road danger and enable more walking and cycling in the capital.  The central London Congestion zone had a 20-mph limit imposed in 2020 and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) will significantly increase speed enforcement by increasing MPS capacity to enforce up to one million offences by 2024/25, introducing new technology to improve effectiveness of enforcement and rolling out new powers to Police Community Support Officers so that they can stop speeding vehicles and take enforcement action against drivers.

Comment: This is of course an example of how the MPS under Cressida Dick has lost track of its priorities. Instead of cutting knife crime and keeping the roads open the MPS prefers instead to spend money on speed limit enforcement.  

This is yet more harassment of drivers which will have little impact on road casualties. Vision Zero is failing to achieve its objectives in cutting accidents because reducing speed limits alone by just putting up signs does not have any impact as is clear from studies published by the DfT. To cut accidents roads need to be re-engineered and money spent on driver education.

Central London is becoming a “no go” area for private car drivers and making life very difficult for taxi/PHV and delivery vehicle drivers. This is simply encouraging businesses and retailers to move out and will impoverish London in due course.

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Slowing London Down with a Fake Consultation

You thought traffic in London was slow enough? Well Transport for London (TfL) have now published their report on the “consultation” into the permanent reduction of the speed limit on the Westway to 30mph, Park Lane (Northbound) to 20mph, and 13km of other routes in Westminster to 20mph. That includes on the Marylebone Road, Vauxhall Bridge Road and Edgware Road between the A40 and St. John’s Wood Road – see map below.

Needless to say, they’re planning on going ahead with it. But did you even know about this consultation? This writer certainly did not and the number of responses from the public was only 224 which surely suggests it was not widely known.

Comment: These are some of the main roads in central London and are vital to maintenance of an efficient road network. It is inconceivable that users of these roads would support such a change. It’s yet another example of TfL attempting to halt all use of motor vehicles and deter people from driving in London by making it inconvenient and frustrating.

It’s also a great example of how TfL does fake consultations with no publicity and done in mid-summer when many people are on holiday.

The Consultation Report is present here: https://haveyoursay.tfl.gov.uk/lowering-speeds-westminster and you can see a map below.

Roger Lawson

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Safer Speeds – The Real Data

I have commented before on how Transport for London (TfL) have failed to justify their “Safer Speeds” proposals which includes imposing 20 mph speed limits on many roads. We have previously pointed out how TfL have been misinterpreting police accident data to support their claims that the measures are justified.

For example, they issued a Tweet that said “speed accounts for 37% of all death and serious injuries” in road accidents in London. That figure is simply wrong. The claim was allegedly based on the STATS19 data reported by the police (a form they fill out about every accident involving injuries).  That form allows for multiple factors to be recorded and after submitting a Freedom of Information Act request we learned that they counted all the accidents where factors 306, 307 and 602 were noted.

But factor 602 is described as “Driver/rider either behaved in a negligent or thoughtless manner or was in a hurry….”. Clearly the key word in that sentence is the second “or” when TfL have interpreted it to mean “and”.  There is no basis for claiming that all accidents where factor 602 is attached were rated by the police as ones where a driver was in a hurry. They might have simply been careless. Only where the other factors 306 or 307 were also noted could there be any claim that speed was a factor in the accident.

We now have the complete accident data and the data makes it plain that exceeding the speed limit (factor 306) is a very minor factor in KSIs (Killed and Serious Injuries) in London. It’s actually recorded as a contributory factor in only 5.9% of such accidents in the last five years. That’s actually less than the figure of 7.1% reported by the Department for Transport for the national figures in 2018 – see table below. Clearly tougher enforcement of speed limits is therefore unlikely to have much impact on the overall numbers. That of course is particularly so in London where average traffic speed is typically well below the speed limit.

Contributory Factors and Speed - ras50008

The largest contributory factor by far is “Failed to Look Properly” which accounted for 42% of KSIs in London or 35% nationally. But there are several other factors with higher ratings than “Exceeding the Speed Limit” such as “Poor Turn or Manoeuvre”, “Failed to Judge Other Persons Path…”, “Loss of Control” and “Careless, Reckless or in a Hurry”.

Even if you bundle factors 306 and 307 together only 12% of KSI incidents are included nationally so reducing speed limits is going to have only a small contribution at best to reducing such accidents. It’s reducing the other factors that is the key to substantially reducing road casualties. More driver education, improved roads and research into saccadic masking may be productive.

Note also that a lot of the reported factor 306 and 307 claims of excessive speed and speed above the speed limit might well involve illegal use of vehicles such as stolen vehicles so reducing speed limits will have negligible impact in reality.

There is simply no cost/benefit justification for the Safer Speeds proposals as pointed out in our previous article and TfL have clearly been abusing the data so as to make spurious claims.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

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Westminster Proposes 20 MPH Limit Everywhere

The City of Westminster is proposing to implement a 20 MPH speed limit on all its roads. The only exception will be those roads they do not control which are TfL controlled roads and where TfL may impose such a limit anyway. This move is despite the fact that a report published by the Department of Transport shows there is no road safety benefit in signed-only 20 MPH limits and there is also no evidence of any other benefits.

Readers should oppose this move, which is in essence a waste of money that would be better spent on other measures, by responding to the public consultation here: https://www.westminster.gov.uk/20mph

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No Justification for 20 MPH Limits in Safer Speeds Proposals

I have written previously on the proposal to introduce a 20 MPH speed limit on major roads in central London, and probably in the rest of London later. I criticised the failure by Transport for London (TfL) to publish any cost/benefit justification and submitted an FOI Act request to obtain that information which TfL refused. See References below for the full story.

After appealing to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) about the refusal by TfL to provide the requested information, which should have provided a justification for their proposals in advance of the public consultation, I have had my complaint upheld by the ICO and have now received the requested information. See Reference 5 below which contains the Business Case published very recently. This is very similar to a draft published in 2012 which was available well before the consultation was launched and hence should have been made available (See Reference 6). However, the numbers in the later version on which the cost/benefit is calculated were much different with the capital cost being reduced very substantially and the collision reduction benefit almost doubling. The outcome is of course a very clear positive benefit as a result.

It is clear that TfL deliberately concealed the earlier version because it provided marginal benefits. But both versions are seriously defective because they do not include all the costs in the analysis. For example, they do not include:

  • The economic costs of increased journey times. Although average speeds during a lot of the day are less than 20 mph on these roads, they are higher at other times and ignore the fact that between junctions and traffic lights/pedestrian crossings, the speeds are higher.
  • No costs are included for enforcement of the 20 MPH limits.
  • No costs imposed on drivers from paying fines for exceeding the limits are included, which will likely be quite substantial.
  • They discount the suggestion that lower speeds would increase emissions from vehicles and hence have not evaluated it which is contrary to readily available evidence on that issue.

In other words, TfL concealed the original “Business Case” on spurious grounds thus defeating a fair public consultation and then adjusted the numbers to give the required answer while not including all the associated costs. This demonstrates exactly why TfL are not to be trusted and should be reformed.

But one moral for readers is do not accept refusals to FOI Act requests. Such refusals are often unreasonable and are just a mechanism to delay answering and hence concealing information until it is too late to be useful. This is of course unprincipled in the extreme. TfL do this repeatedly and perhaps the ICO will deal properly with this issue if they get enough complaints.

In the meantime the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, who is a party to this dubious activity should ensure TfL act more responsibly. I will be sending him a complaint on this issue.

Reference 1: Consultations in Name Only and Safer Speeds: https://tinyurl.com/y3gqh5hh

Reference 2: Consultations in Name Only: https://tinyurl.com/y6lpuusp

Reference 3: 20 MPH Speed Limits in London on Major Roads: https://tinyurl.com/y5ntxu4a

Reference 4: 20 MPH Speed Limits Spreading in London: https://tinyurl.com/y3r9bddp

Reference 5: Business Case 2019: https://tinyurl.com/yxt9fy2d

Reference 6: Business Case 2012: https://tinyurl.com/y2zd7hko

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

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20 MPH Speed Limits in London on Major Roads

20 MPH SignTransport for London (TfL) are pushing ahead with their proposals for “Safer Speeds” in central London – which means 20 MPH speed limits enforced by cameras on many major roads in London. They have published the results of their fake public consultation on this subject which we have previously criticised as a consultation “in name only” including a refusal by TfL to provide key information on the proposals such as any cost/benefit analysis.

The public consultation used leading questions and was a complete distortion of how consultations should be performed – see https://tinyurl.com/y3gqh5hh for more information on how TfL ignores public opinion and does fake consultations.

You can read a report from TfL on the Safer Speeds consultation here: https://tinyurl.com/y3gqh5hh . On this very important topic to all road users, of which there are millions in London, they received less than 2,000 responses. Thirty nine percent of the responses came from cyclists which just shows how that pressure group dominates such consultations and are unrepresentative of the general public.

TfL propose to implement the 20 MPH limit on key roads in central London by 2020, and then in phase 2 they will extend lower speed limits to the inner ring road, and high-risk roads and town centre roads in the rest of London by 2024. In other words they will be coming to TfL controlled roads (i.e. main roads) even in outer London. Raised tables will be used at pedestrian crossings and elsewhere to slow traffic and all speed cameras will be recalibrated to the new lower speeds. Vehicle Activated Signs (VAS) will also be used to ensure drivers are aware of the new limits.

What is the likely impact on road casualties? From the experience of the City of London where a 20 MPH limit has been in use for some time, the impact will be negligible. But it will make life more difficult for drivers and result in many more speeding fines as the police will be stepping up enforcement measures. This is one more step in the Mayor’s Transport Strategy to deter people from using cars in London.

London is becoming a ghetto of anti-car fanatics. These proposals are being advocated in the name of road safety despite the fact that TfL refuse to give any estimates of the alleged benefits, probably because they know they will turn out to be false. The proposals are likely to be an enormous waste of money and contribute further to TfL’s budget deficit.

We are still pursuing a FOI Act request to obtain TfL’s internal reports justifying these proposals which in their usual anti-democratic approach they have refused to release. We suggest readers complain to their local MP and Greater London Assembly Member about this matter.

Roger Lawson

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Drivers_London

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