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


I would find it highly amusing if speed checks were targetted to Lewisham councillors and perhaps even the Mayor!
Publication of the findings would be very interesting and possibly the quickest way to change the limits.

I recall there was a volunteer service to monitor speeds could a good location be near the council offices


Is this a suggestion that officials of the Council are more likely than others to speed or flout the speed limits? Why would one think they require more scrutiny as drivers? I wonder what our councillors like @CllrPaulUpex or @MajaHilton or @John_Paschoud would think of these suggestions?



Like this chap:

How thoughtful of him!


FWIW I think “targeting” of automated speed enforcement would breach several MPS protocols, whether the targeting was at holders of elected office or any other personal characteristics - except perhaps an established history of speeding or other motoring offences. It would also be a waste of resources. Responsible drivers (including bus drivers) keeping to the limits will help to make them happen, by holding up the few who would like to drive dangerously faster.


My point is that the 20mph limit is unworkable without expensive monitoring and enforcement. It is also overkill especially on todays roads.Whilst I have no doubts that our public servants are responsible drivers, I do not believe they are faultless so a confirmation that ‘responsible’ people can fail may help in future decision making.


Doesn’t prove the not enforceable allegation one way or another, but perhaps worth noting that the second traffic order notice from 2017 refers to amending the first one, 2015 which it indicates as already being in force.


Bus drivers are not necessarily all good either. Some are, of course, but the whole of Hackney is also a 20mph zone, and I’m regularly on buses that are exceeding the speed limit.

I would hope that a council would not be stupid enough to try to implement a Borough wide speed limit of 5 or 10mph, without significant reasoning, but if they did, then I’d probably follow it.


and after a quick search, this is the public record showing that the traffic order was duly made and published by Lewisham. Unless anyone can say why this is not legitimate, it looks as though we do have a 20mph speed limit after all.


Looks conclusive - having examined it closely it leaves no doubt that a lawful statement has been made thus:

“1. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Lewisham Borough Council on 22nd May 2017 made the above-mentioned Order under sections 84(1)(a) and (2) of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, which will come into operation on 1st June 2017.”

This is unquestionable evidence of the validity of the 20 mph controls for all motor vehicles in the borough.

Note the the language and tense - “made” and not “would be”.

It leaves only one question - why would a knowledgeable officer speculate to a member of the public about whether the 20 mph controls are enforceable ?

Perhaps he was being mischievous - will we ever know ?.

I would appeal for people to be reasonable - don’t exceed twenty mph - it’s not as if you are being required to restore the man with the red flag walking a few paces in front of you.


Perhaps there are loopholes (of the “road too short for radar enforcement” type), or perhaps other subsequent TMOs that change the parameters? The documentation suggests two or three TMOs in the space of a few years - that we’re aware of

One or two interesting arguments here (note: an old forum topic):



Well there we all are.

We should be assured that this maxim now holds true:

“For all who will take up the loophole, will die by the loophole”


Let’s find out what the long-term DfT study reveals about area-wide 20mph limits. If, like in Bath and Manchester, they are linked to worse safety outcomes than the standard urban 30mph limit (and with a more statistically significant sample this time), then it will be our moral obligation to either reverse Lewisham’s 20mph project or find a loophole in it.


Apologies in advance for the slightly sarky response, but I’m still not convinced why the laws of physics need to wait for being confirmed by a DfT study.

The correlation between injury rates and speed being hit with is well studied and accepted around the globe. That being said, I’m in no doubt that a study could be crafted to prove exactly the opposite should this be the intention of the one asking the question, as is the case with everything.

I trust that there is a chance indeed that accidents actually rise if there is zero enforcement of the 20mph, as it may lead to increased levels of reckless driving. Reverting back to 30mph because of this would be a defeatist conclusion in my view.

There is of course the question about what is proportionate. I would argue that this should be answered from the viewpoint of the one being exposed to the risk rather than the one posing the risk. Where there are many pedestrians and not enough protected crossing facilities, 20mph is most likely to make a material difference to safety. Unfortunately, this situation applies to most roads in the borough regardless of how important they are to motored traffic. Even the South Circular is technically a residential road, as it has as many residents living and shopping either side as other roads, if not more. One could argue that an alternative to 20mph would be to make people to use pelican crossings only, “enforced” by fencing off all other areas where one might wish to cross. This is pretty much the solution adopted decades ago, although many London areas still suffer from the blight this has caused. The arrangements on the South Circular as a half-way house work, but not very well, and should really form the exception rather than the desired standard.

A further solution would have been to separate out trunk routes entirely from where people move on their feet, but we’re around seventy years late for this so the ship has sailed. Any attempt to rectify this now (anyone remembering Boris’s road tunnels under Central London?) is doomed for glorious failure.


I accept that if everyone drove more slowly, roads would be safer - although (crucially) it very much depends on how you engineer that situation.

Regarding the “well studied” point:

When 20mph limits were first envisaged, ROSPA told us that the risk of being fatally injured by a 30mph collision was 20%.

They later changed their mind and now tell us the risk is 8%.

What kind of research produces such wild margins of error?

But that aside, you suggest that it’s only “reckless drivers” in 20mph zones that lead to the poor accident records of those zones.

What about the many other factors mentioned in this topic? For example - in a 20mph zone with associated road clutter and limits that don’t match road types, drivers are forced to focus on speedos, humps, chicanes and cameras rather than pedestrians, cyclists and other road users. Wouldn’t this make a material impact on accident rates?


Was this a repeat of the research or just a re-analysis? If it was repeated it is plausible that advances in car design etc have reduced the risk of death. Likewise re-analysis could make sense if methods of figuring out the speed at which collisions occurred had improved. Agreed that other factors are clearly important too- affected sight lines due to street clutter being an obvious one of course.


The original ROSPA study was from 1979 and they later said it had “overestimated the risks”

It’s quite possible that improvements to car design are responsible.

Thus, reducing car speeds from 30mph to 20mph is now significantly less important than it was in the 70s.


So many expensive decisions made on the basis of bad science. Five minutes ago, diesel cars were good, this week they’re bad, who knows what next week will bring?

Has anyone measured the extra noise and air pollution caused by the 20 MPH limit?

Personally I would favour 25 MPH, as most cars are geared to manage a constant 25 in 3rd gear.


I suspect so, but isn’t this a separate issue to 20mph? In my view, roads should be designed in such a way that makes them intuitive to drive (and walk and cycle) on at the appropriate speed without even thinking about it. This takes time, money, foresight and will to implement.

Just to use one example, for all its bad press, the way one drives down Exhibition Road would have completely changed since it has been redesigned compared with before (i.e. much more carefully), without featuring any of the above, and probably even without a speed limit. It is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but other measures may be suitable elsewhere. Raised tables might be a more targeted solution than speed humps, cameras should be less visible (why should anyone care seeing them, it’s for them to see you), carriageways shouldn’t be any wider than necessary (because of perceived speed), and sight lines are really important. In fact, parked cars are one of the key risks, but we can’t do away with parking. When planners get the chance, they can come up with cracking solutions to transform road space to the better. 20mph was always only going to be a quick fix that is comparatively cheap, has immediate effect (at least in theory) and treats all parts of the borough the same way.

Idea: Part-Pedestrianise Perry Vale

It cost £1.23M (of our money) and will take four years in total to implement.


It never was our money, it always belonged to the borough. And it is probably still cheaper and quicker than doing a Dartmouth Road type upgrade of at least every single shopping parade in the borough. That doesn’t mean that the way of spending shouldn’t be scrutinised, but I suspect that there have been similar expenditures in the past that had less of an impact.