WPQ answer – 20mph zones

The Department for Transport needs to get on with revising these guidelines. The Labour government in Wales now concedes they have introduced too many. There need to be some through roads that allow people to get to work or the shops at a reasonable speed, whilst  ensuring there  are safe paths, crossings and pedestrian areas for those walking. 

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, whether his Department has issued recent guidance on challenging the imposition of 20 mph zones by local authorities. (15526)

Tabled on: 26 February 2024

Guy Opperman:

The Department is finalising the details to the guidance update on setting local speed limits and in respect of 20mph speed limits, as announced in the Plan for Drivers. This will be published in due course.

The answer was submitted on 04 Mar 2024 at 14:15.


  1. Mark B
    April 23, 2024

    Good morning.

    According to the law the maximum speed limit in the UK is 30mph. Up until, I believe, 1998 if a Local Authority wished to reduce the speed of a road using traffic calming measures then an application to the Secretary of State for Transport had to be made. This was referred to as a, Road Traffic Order (RTO). If there is no RTO then what speed limits are introduced are not enforceable by law. ie If the Local Authority impose a 20mph without a LTO then it is NOT legal. Of course which roads are LTO’s and which ones are not ?

    If our kind host allows (it is a government website and should be OK)



    1. Mark B
      April 23, 2024

      There does not need to be any guidance. Just a statement saying that the 20mph are not enforceable and motorists, unless the they know the road has an LTO, can lawfully travel at a maximum of 30mph

  2. Peter
    April 23, 2024

    Guidelines will not necessarily change the minds of those that set speed limits.

    Councils often have an anti-car bias. So they may persist with the limits they have set.

    Similarly cycle lane are unlikely to be ripped up due to lack of cyclists making use of them. ‘Build it and they will come’ gets these lanes set up in the first place, but inertia and fixed notions of what is in the interests of residents may ensure they remain even where they get little use.

    1. Lifelogic
      April 23, 2024

      The main motivation of Councils seems to be to set very low limits that will be inevitably exceeded so they can tax/fine/mug motorists. This in order to pay ever higher wages, benefits and pensions to the all too many local authority pen pushers (mainly parasites) who deliver so very little of any real value.

  3. Jude
    April 23, 2024

    It is now end of April, why does it take so long to review & draw up new guidelines? Notice no actual fixed date is given for when these revised guidelines will be published. Its a disgrace & yet again disrespect for the taxpayers who drive!

    1. Lifelogic
      April 23, 2024

      Who often need to drive to get to work and whose taxes pay for all this insanity and waste.

  4. Berkshire Alan
    April 23, 2024

    No problem with part time 20mph Outside schools in term times (usually with flashing lights) and arriving and leaving times.
    Ok with 20 mph limits where the road is so narrow and vision obscured, it has to be voluntary alternative one way travel, depending on traffic flow, build up, volume.
    Otherwise Up to 30mph should be maintained as in the past.
    At 20 Mph you are causing more pollution that at 30mph or higher, because you will be in a lower gear (using higher/more engine revs per mile), so this nonsense about lowering the speed limit to lower pollution is simply wrong.

    1. Mickey Taking
      April 23, 2024

      and at slower speeds adults and worryingly children will think they can dash across roads – at their violent cost!
      But hey – they have a better chance of surviving than at 30mph. That said perhaps we should go to 10mph….

  5. Donna
    April 23, 2024

    So basically, as Minister for Transport, Grant Schapps allowed/encouraged Local Authorities to impose 20mph limits without carrying out real consideration of the wider impact.

    And now he’s at Defence. 🙂

    God help us.

    1. Berkshire Alan
      April 23, 2024

      Nail, Head.
      Got it in one, seems to be absolutely useless in any position.

  6. Rodney Needs
    April 23, 2024

    We need to deal with the speeding in Wokingham and the enforcement. When you drive round take a look at speed cameras and bushes growing in front. Also lack of graduate lines on the road. For this take a look at the camera by the school on Easthampstead road.

    1. Mickey Taking
      April 23, 2024

      well Rod, the speeding in most London Boroughs is done by cyclists overtaking cars!
      Is that what you want for Wokingham?

  7. Ian B
    April 23, 2024

    Sir John
    So, no we hadn’t thought of it until you mentioned it. Then again did any one believe we had a government that was governing for the whole of the UK rather than nurturing personal self

  8. Dave Ceely
    April 23, 2024

    Another ruinous policy from the entirely communist government in Wales proved a terrible idea. What a shock.
    It’s a shame we no longer have any non communist politicians in England either.

  9. glen cullen
    April 23, 2024

    Local government didn’t invent the 20mph zone …it was imposed and funded by this tory government, it’s a strategic net-zero plan

    1. Mickey Taking
      April 23, 2024

      and more and more control of us.

  10. Ed
    April 23, 2024

    So, £35 million to set up an unpopular, unworkable, largely unenforceable policy using ‘data’ best described as unconvincing.
    A similar amount to rectify the policy after 7 months.
    At the same time the Welsh Assembly cannot find the funds to keep the flagship National Museum of Wales open.
    Utter incompetence.
    Why are politicians allowed to get away with this?

  11. Bryan Harris
    April 23, 2024

    We should be able to influence these plans – Councils have gone crazy with implementing 20mph zones, and all for no good reason:
    – there is more pollution due to cars running at inappropriate speed;
    – only the people who normally take care around schools etc, follow the rules – the loonies continue to speed;
    – everything slows down in a 20mph zone, with more congestion;
    – who monitors the 20mph zones? Nobody it seems.

    Special interest groups have quite a hold on councils who rely more on their ‘words of wisdom’ than the wishes of people who live in the areas affected. No doubt these same groups are lobbying HMG to maintain the ridiculous 20mph policies.

    QUESTION: How do we identify and name these special interest groups that now have so much power over our lives?

    1. Mickey Taking
      April 23, 2024

      It screams out for referenda – perhaps 4 issues per year put to the over 18s, who are English citizens and have been resident here for over 5 years. Oh and only those defining themselves as male or female – those unsure or believe themselves to be animals don’t get a vote.

  12. Kayla
    April 23, 2024

    Can’t happen soon enough .

Comments are closed.