20mph speed limit rollout by Lewisham Council (effective September 2016)


I stand corrected and will alter to “£1.23M on various measures” - which include the clutter of signage, the insanity of road narrowing and the irritation of speed bumps (which cause eco-unfriendly slow-down / speed-ups, cause wear to suspension, discomfort to passengers, distract drivers and do not actually keep drivers at 20mph).


It’s easy to argue for increasing parts of budgets in isolation - when you’re not the one in charge of balancing the books. Khan’s hot air helps no one.


As mentioned previously, the surveys you quoted were not for borough-wide 20mph limits, and therefore this is a misleading statement.

We’ll soon have a better idea how popular the Lewisham borough limits are with drivers and non-drivers.

You may need to tweak your various mentions of “popular 20mph limits”


I believe main road speed limits in London are controlled by TfL . Residential roads (which the British Social Attitudes summary says are ‘not main roads’, I can’t be bothered to drill down further than that) are controlled by Lewisham, with the popular 20mph policy being part of it. Popular is a perfectly valid term because of the nationally recognised BSA data below, also because it was heavily trailed by the Lewisham candidates that have been elected on the 20mph ticket.

As an aside though I wonder what the under 18s think of this – no one seems to be asking them.

The BSA 2015 study says that ‘in 2015 68% were in favour of having 20 miles per hour speed limits in residential streets’. …
‘Around 73% of non-drivers were favourable towards having 20mph limits in residential streets compared to 66% of drivers’…
In 2016 they said it had hardly changed.

re the new SE23Life poll I’m all for the fun of it, but it is not research really is it.


How popular people think this is is not really the point. If there is a collision with a pedestrian then there is a greater likelihood of death if the impact is at a greater speed. This is due to basic physics. The level of enforcement is also a non-sequitur as this has not changed AFAICT.

Even if one believes that the speed limits have not changed any behaviour then this doesn’t change the basic facts.

So this all resolves down to whether some drivers would prefer to drive at a higher, illegal, speed and risk killing more pedestrians. Not very sociable is it?


Road safety is far more complicated than raw speed limits themselves, as described in the many posts above.

The post-implementation safety data from 20mph zones has been worrying and the idealism of 20mph limits is starting to show. I’m not arguing with the physics of impact between cars and pedestrians - but there is far more to consider here, and there are muitiple consequences of setting low speed limits.

These policies should be data-driven, not made in a simplistic and ideological way.


yes, and let’s not forget that this is not just about the easier things to measure such as road safety, accident frequency and severity. It is about making it more pleasant to live, work and play in our city.

Lewisham say
’Reducing traffic speed also helps people feel more confident about being on their local streets. This results in more children walking to school and elderly people feeling more able to travel independently and safely.

On the whole, calmer road speeds help to make walking and cycling more attractive leading to less traffic congestion, better health, less noise, more social interaction and stronger communities. ’


Please point me to what was ideological in my post? What I have posted relates to severity of accidents and how this correlates to speed. Slowing down saves lives. All other argument aside, this is sufficient as the sole justification required for the policy in my view.

You seem fixated on accident rates, in an ideological way I might add. As usual, you appear to decide on your stance and then find ‘sources’ to back it up - this is not ‘data-driven’ either.


Tea time. Grab a biscuit, this is a slightly longer post.

Let’s have a look at the claim often repeated on this thread that, in a poll, Tower Hamlets folk took strongly against their Borough 20mph limit. In a local paper headline in 2016 a local Councillor made the claim, that in a Council poll, “53% had disagreed with the speed restriction” to support his views on the issue and to demonstrate how unpopular the scheme is. The story was picked up by several other publications.

But is that true and, if so, how reliable is it as proof of the unpopularity of 20mph cross- Borough limits? To find out, we need to look for the research, which it turns out had only been very selectively quoted from.

Tower Hamlets 20mph review
Council papers from September 2016 look at an independent review of 12 months operation of their scheme. The Council concluded, on the basis of the review, that they would, with some tweaks, make their scheme permanent. Lots of interesting stuff there, but let’s keep the focus on that poll.

_“n internet survey of borough residents attracted over 900 replies and overall showed only 40% support for the limit compared to 53% disagreeing with it. The method was used because of its simplicity to implement and its low cost however it is important to understand the limitations of the survey.

_As it is selfselecting it can be expected to engage residents that have a particularly strong opinion one way or another. It is unlikely to engage those with no opinion or who do not feel particularly strongly either way. Such survey methodology tends therefore to exaggerate the negative opinion as motivation to respond on a self-selected basis is most often generated by negative concerns. _

_This survey method does not provide a representative sample of the population and it does not provide a safe basis upon which to conclude that the result is an accurate representation of the wider communities’ views. It does, however, give those who want to express a view the opportunity to do so and have it considered and it gives some limited indication of the strength of opinion of the group that engaged. _

With these significant caveats in mind it is evident that this result varies on a geographical basis, suggesting that the speed limit is more widely endorsed by those expressing an opinion in the north of the borough than in the south. Of the 900 replies, over 500 came from the E14 postcode area and showed 65% were against the limit. However, a lower level of responses in each of E1, E2 and E3 showed only 44%, 37% and 27% (respectively) of respondents disagreed with the limit.”

Not reliable
So not reliable evidence at all then; no explanation as to why such a disproportionate number of those polled lived in a very small section of the borough. That misleading headline in the local paper is still on the web but hey, the Councillor got his headline and that should play well with some target voters.
Responses in Tower Hamlets mirror very closely what happened on the recent SE23.Life Poll, where , entirely predictably, self selecting early responders tended to be those with a strong opinion against the limit.

And finally… A couple of wider general quotes from our neighbours in Tower Hamlets.

‘This report summarises the key findings of the review of the scheme, which are broadly positive.’

“By making the experimental traffic order permanent, it will provide road safety benefits to all residents of the borough, with particular positive impacts demonstrated for vulnerable road users including the elderly, young children, cyclists, pedestrians and mobility impaired people.”

“From an economic viewpoint, the costs associated with implementing the 20mph speed limit has brought benefits, and based on the analysis of ‘after’ casualty rates, the scheme has provided value for money.
Furthermore, a reduction in serious and fatal injuries has supported the safety benefits of introducing the scheme “

I look forward to a comparable review from Lewisham in due course. Thanks for listening; my tea has gone cold now.


Can I just ask, pro or against it doesnt matter, how will this 20mph limit be enforced (speed camera’s aside)?


Perhaps it is a matter of perspective but I’m not sure it is fair to characterize the APC as unenthused.

I’ve been rereading the linked article from Chris’ earlier post

As a non-driver, I’m not immediately aware of the measures in place to inform drivers of the 20mph speed limits. So it wasn’t long after reading the last clutch of posts I found myself on the top deck of the 185 heading towards East Dulwich and I purposefully looked for measures to inform drivers of the 20mph speed limit for anyone coming off the South Circular 30mph zone.

Frankly I was surprised at how well sign-posted the 20mph zones were. Most streets off the SC had well position 20mph signs uncluttered and unfettered by other road or direction notices. Often this was re-inforced by a road marking of a large white 20 circled in white. While walking later in the day I also noted that coming into the South Circular there were often signs noting the speed limit was changing to 30mph.

The APCO (now the National Police Chiefs Council) guidance from almost five years ago was…

It said that “routine enforcement” would only be employed “if the limit is regarded as appropriate given the prevailing road conditions in the area and clarity is offered to non-local drivers.”

I’m going to guess that we could debate what constitutes “appropriate given the prevailing road conditions” until the cows come home. But I would argue that there is more then sufficient clarity offered to non-local drivers. If drivers’ local or otherwise are missing these fairly significant visual clues then then police should be considering other forms of fines or prosecution.

I concede though that some drivers may “expect” a 20mph in a predominately residential street like Church Rise more than more heavily trafficed roads like Honor Oak Road or Brockley Rise. But even in those other instances, there appear to be some fairly obvious speed notices in the form of banners.

Frankly I like that the police have some flexibility in enforcing these speed limits. I gather in a 20mph zone they don’t necessarily consider fines until the speed registers at plus 10% plus 2mph so around 24mph. I also like that the police can chose an alternate course of action if they feel appropriate. Apparently when APCO issues their guidance almost five years’ ago there was not specific speed awareness course for 20mph zones. There now is through DriveTech which I believe is the service that drivers are referred to by the police.


The same way the previously enforced 30mph zones were?


You seen any police with speed guns recently? They have far more pressing matters to deal with.


So are the police not enforcing any speed limits regardless of level?


Not personally, but I know a man who has:


I dont believe they were enforcing the 20mph limit unless there was a need in a particular area. The Met did say they were not going to enforce them when they initially came out. However, like many things if there is an accident black spot or a police incentive then I imagine you will see speed guns. My point is, there are not enough police to routinely have speed traps, Chris went on a citizen patrol which helps of course. Here in sunnny Norfolk, with lower crime rates, I routinely see both police and citizen speed traps. I am sure one of your local police will be able to give us an accurate picture.


Not wishing to be pedantic but the rather handsome chap is standing alongside a PCSO and not police.


What I liked about community roadwatch is that it helped avoid PC time being spent enforcing 20mph limits, and also it means only warning letters are sent and not actual fines. Fining people for driving at 24mph is just absurd, I’m sure most would agree.


this is what Tower Hamlets Met police said in consultation re their role in continuing their 20mph borough wide limit.

'As with all speed limits, if the site doesn’t look like or feel like the limit imposed then there will be larger scale offending and routine prosecution seen as inappropriate and quite simply over the top. It is for Tower Hamlets Council to appropriately sign and if necessary engineer a limit, leaving the police to target the persistent and deliberate offender, together achieving the very highest level of compliance and safety for other road users.
_ _
Beyond this, it should be pointed out that the nature of the TLRN roads, and of the traffic using these links, does make them suitable for average speed enforcement using fixed cameras. Clearly this would be a significant escalation in the use of camera enforcement, and would require a political will from both Tower Hamlets and TfL to achieve, although in terms of effective enforcement to encourage compliance, this would be by far the most effective solution.’


I see that discussion of the poll has been stopped on the poll thread, just when things were getting interesting. Of those who expressed an opinion for or against 52% are current against the 20mph limit and 48% were in favour of the borough-wide speed limit (no, I didn’t make up those percentages).

I still think a better measure of the views of drivers is to measure their speeds on roads like Southend Lane, Mayow Road, Sydenham Hill, Sydenham Rise, or Perry Vale (all roads with minimal traffic calming) - I think speeds of cars would suggest that most motorists prefer going above 30mph, even in the new 20mph zones.