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


GIve it 10 Years and driving will be in the same league as Smoking and plastic straws, private car ownership as it is, is not sustainable


As London’s population rises - seemingly inevitably - from 8M to 10M, something has to give, for sure. Feels like congestion is getting exponentially worse.

The calamitous response of our council is to a) slow traffic down and b) narrow our congested roads.

I’m sure it all makes sense to those who view the situation as an ideological battleground between different modes of transport.


This sure is a soapbox issue to you isn’t it? I would counter that the only person who is ideologically obsessed on this is your good self.

Buses being limited to 20mph is a great idea as this will help keep general traffic speed down to a reasonable level. You will not be breathing so many fumes as these progressively become hybrid/electric and there are already some stop start types on the P4 route for instance (much nicer as a passenger too).

In terms of journey speed, this is much more about traffic flow than maximum speed of individuals. This is the sort of thing that is taught in foundation courses at Maths degree level (as of 30+ years ago in my case but probably at school now I imagine). But we have already been round this buoy and it doesn’t suit your conclusion so on we go.


I’m trying to avoid this being a personal dispute and I’d appreciate you doing the same, @Brett

Doesn’t that depend on one’s definition of “reasonable” speed?

I’m familiar with queueing effects. I’ve seen no convincing scientific evidence that artificially restricting drivers to 20mph improves traffic flow in Lewisham.

On the subject of queuing effects - how do you think speed humps, chicanes and other unpleasant road clutter might contribute to queuing effects? These are all being advocated alongside the 20mph signage.


To be fair Chris, that did not seem overly personal - your opposition to the limit is, not exclusively but quite clearly, ideological. And if you counted up, there are around 360 posts on this thread, I wonder how many of them are yours, and how many of those complain over and over again that the policy is unpopular, and ideological? You’ve made your point, but of course great social changes have come from ideology, some you’ll agree with some you won’t. The 20mph limits are a very popular social policy, as evidenced in this thread many times, and Lewisham people voted heavily for the candidates that promised to introduce them.

I do not criticise you in saying this - as one large scale study of attitudes found: -

˜there is a possible ideological opposition to 20mph with 30% of all drivers agreeing that *20mph is an example of the nanny state, but rather tellingly 65% of opponents of 20mph limits think this (over four times as many as supporters)’


If you read my posts you’ll see my concerns are mostly practical concerns, not ideological concerns. But in any case this shouldn’t be a personal dispute, so let’s stop making it one.


I had an experience whereby an entire community complained about the speed limits on two main roads. So a reduced speed limit was introduced and monitoring carried out to assess the speed of cars using said roads.
The results interestingly revealed that 85% of cars exceeding the limit belonged to local residents the highest recording belonging to the Chair of the Parish council and the vicars wife!


Similarly we had the same a good few years ago with cars driving the wrong way down Manor Mount. Complained and the police turned up. Most caught lived on Manor Mount. It seems people do sh*t on their own doorsteps.

Back to the 20 mph limits. It seems a lot like them, a lot dont, a lot feel safer with them but quite a lot dont because of pressure from those who want to go faster than 20mph. The police are not interested unless it’s an accident hotspot. So, I would surmise, it has been a well rounded and thought out scheme.



Interesting nugget, spotted on another local forum:


so what is the evidence to justify your spreading of this rumour? it sounds unlikely, but serious if it were true.


Not quite “legislation”. LA’s have powers to implement Traffic Management Orders (TMO) and these must describe and authorise specific restrictions or rules…

It is a simple matter to write to the relevant local authority and ask for data such as evidence of the TMO having been processed and on what date.

In a borough wide scheme it may require several TMO’s to be in place.

It is one of the standard techniques promoted by firms who represent drivers with speeding charges.

The absence of a corresponding TMO means that any restriction is not valid.


Thanks for this information. I may wrote to the council to get evidence of the TMOs. It will be a game-changer if we find out their limits aren’t binding.

May also explain why the Association of Chief Police officers was so skeptical about borough-wide limits.


Once you have confirmation of the presence or absence of an appropriate TMO, then there will be hard evidence that validates what so far is an anecdotal report of a discussion with an officer who for all we know may be commenting on rumours that they have in turn heard.

Any identification of a missing TMO will be subject of formal reporting by police to the relevant authority and it would be very remiss of that party not to take corrective action - particularly given the high-profile borough wide nature of this scheme.

And omissions have been found before.


Given that their publicised delivery schedule begins with a specific step for applying for Traffic Orders - I’d be amazed if was forgotten.



Is it possible they did apply but didn’t get a response, or a final, approved TMO?


And here is a starter for ten on 20mph TMO’s


A table in the middle of the link makes reference to Traffic order applications commencing in Mar 2016 and finishing in July 2016.

There is no evidence it was completed and from preliminary searches it would seem TMO’s are not so frequently published now.

My legislative knowledge is insufficient to comment on whether there is an obligation to publish.

Oops duplicating with @armadillo.

There is hard evidence from other matters where officers have not complied with or departed from their standard processes as exampled during the listing of the Bell Green gasometers…


here are public record of notice of two Lewisham 20mph traffic orders. Along with everyone else so far I don’t know what process apart from this publication needs to be followed to make 20mph enforceable.

I understand that some roads are actually too short to allow enforcement to take place. Presumably that would apply whatever the speed limit is.

The second traffic order refers to ‘to enable the Police to better enforce the 20 mph speed limit restrictions in Lewisham, by specifically identifying each length of street involved in the Order.’, so specifically to help the police in their enforcement.


I’d speculate that the second order is something to do with this, from a well known pro 20mph web source.
‘In order for the police to enforce a limit then they require a clear distance for them to observe drivers and for drivers to see them. This may make certain sites less suitable for speed detection. Different measurement equipment are available. Whilst in the past some “radar” based speed detectors were not approved for use below 30mph, most forces have “laser” type devices that are fully approved for use at 20mph.’


Thanks for the links. Those look like records of proposals by Lewisham Council. In both documents the language of the clauses is very much “would be” rather than “is”.

I have raised an FoI to get the actual Traffic Order documents and their coverage over the borough.


But when driving you should always obey all traffic signs and road markings. How is Joe Blogs from Scunthorpe, down here on holiday, supposed to know that because of a technicality, the signed speed limit is unenforceable?
Its simple, the speed limit signs and road markings are there, anything other than obeying them is stupid.


Out of curiosity, would you say the same if Lewisham Council decides the limits will be 10mph tomorrow? Or 5mph?

How low would the limit have to be before you’d consider obeying the limit “stupid”?