Government urged to “modernise” speed signage rules

12.00 | 3 June 2013 | | 5 comments

The 20’s Plenty for Us campaign is calling on the DfT to “modernise” signage rules relating to speed limits.

Specifically, the campaign is lobbying for repeater signs to only be required on roads where the limit is 30mph or above. 20’s Plenty says there are now 12 million people living in areas where “20mph is the agreed limit on lit streets”, and that repeater signs for 20mph limits is “a major cost”.

20’s Plenty is encouraging local authorities to write to Norman Baker, parliamentary under secretary of state, to ask him to change signage rules which it claims is currently stalling some areas from introducing 20mph limits.

The campaign group has drawn up a template letter to help local authorities demonstrate how much money could be saved on a 20mph roll-out if repeater signs were only required on roads that are exceptions – as is already the case for 40mph and 50mph limits.

Click here to read the full 20’s Plenty for Us news release, or for more information contact Anna Semlyen, 20’s Plenty for Us campaign manager, on 07572120439.


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    Honor makes a valid point which needs to be reviewed. Any difference in cost would be dependent upon what percentage of roads in villages stayed at 30. Our experience shows up that the aspiration for lower speeds is just as high in village communities as urban ones. We would therefore presume that any estimate of costs would be based using the signage change to implement a speed limit change as well.

    But what we do highlight is the fact that with an ever increasing adoption of 20mph as the limit for residential roads it seems wrong to base signage on some 20th Century notion that 20mph limits are the exception when in so many places they are the norm.

    It would be interesting and very useful to do some calculations in such a place as North Yorkshire. We would suggest that this be done on :-

    a) leaving all limits as they are and adopting change signage regs
    b) providing 20mph speed limit for most residential roads using current signage regs
    c) providing 20mph speed limit for most residential roads using changed signage regs

    Maybe some villages could be taken as examples and extrapolated up to the whole county.

    Rod King, Chesire – 20’s Plenty for Us
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Perhaps understandably,this proposal seems to be based on an urban model. For a large rural county like North Yorkshire, where there are few large towns and very many small towns and villages, the cost-benefit looks quite different. Where you might estimate an overall saving in signage costs in large towns and cities, this could impose a significant additional cost burden on rural counties such as ours. I think it will need more detailed work to fully assess the potential/estimated impact v benefit.

    Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    The places and populations are all named on our website. Just scroll down and its on the right hand side.

    Much of the £500k was spent on repeater signs. It’s this which would reduce significantly if the requirement was only for the remaining 30mph roads.

    Changing the maximum speed for restricted roads does not actually need a change in legislation. The Road Traffic Regulation Act allows it to be changed by Statutory Instrument as long as it has a majority in both houses (see

    However, what we are asking for is a change in the signage which would be by a Statutory Instrument also but would not require any majority. It would simply be the DfT/Ministers deciding that a restricted road with a 30mph limit should have repeaters and if it had a 20mph limit then no repeaters were required. It is already the case that restricted roads which are “unlit” require such repeaters.

    Our suggestion simply reflects the fact that we are in transition to a situation where most urban roads will have a 20mph limit. That’s not based on opinion or belief but the number of cities and places already doing it.

    Many members and officers also realise that being able to use money previously spent on signage for engagement and education would also increase compliance. Surely something which we would all be in favour of.

    Rod King, Cheshire 20’s Plenty for Us
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    “20’s Plenty says there are now 12 million people living in areas where “20mph is the agreed limit on lit streets.” Really? Source? Seems a rather unlikely claim to me.

    Kevin Willams, Survival Skills Rider Training
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    It certainly costs a fortune to implement 20mph. Portsmouth spent over £0.5m on their scheme, but to do away with 20mph signage would require a change in national law to make 20mph the default street-lit speed limit (rather than 30mph). Problems with that include the fact that the 85% is usually well above 20mph so this might further erode public faith in the competence of authority. Also, if the effects of current 20mph trials are replicated nationwide, we could see a large increase in serious injury rates. We really do need to implement 20mph in scientific trials (Randomized Controlled Trials) before taking such a risk with the lives of the public.

    Dave, Slough
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

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