Information about my work as a Labour Councillor for East Finchley in the London Borough of Barnet

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

20 mph zones

A guest post from Cllr Kath McGuirk, Labour councillor for West Finchley.

Kath clears up some confusion about 20 mph zones. In East Finchley, the request relates to Church Lane, as part of the Walksafe N2 campaign. There are other requests, and actual zones in the borough.

Home Zones, 20mph Zones and Limits

Regulatory Framework

The current road traffic regulations make possible two different means of implementing 20mph speed limits:

20mph speed limits alone, indicated simply by terminal (i.e. entry and exit) signs to Diagram 670, plus repeater signs. It is recommended that these are only established where 85th percentile speeds are already below 24mph; or 20mph Zones, using terminal signs with area names to Diagram 674 together with regular traffic calming measures to provide a self-enforcing scheme.

In 20mph zones, there is no need for any repeater signs, and there is no need to sign individual calming measures. Within a 20mph zone no point in the road can be more than 50m from a traffic calming feature (Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002), except on a cul–de–sac less than 80 metres in length.

Since 1999, there is no longer a need for local traffic authorities to gain consent from the Secretary of State (in England), the National Assembly for Wales or Scottish Ministers, in order to implement a 20mph speed limit or Zone.

Additionally, in Scotland, the Scottish Executive has issued advice to local authorities on advisory 20mph speed limits, following the publication in 2001 of research on pilot low cost 20mph speed limits in residential areas.

Signing and Marking Requirements

It is important to note that, as the law presently stands, where a Home Zone is not situated within a 20mph zone, traffic calming measures will need to be signed and marked in accordance with Regulation 6 of the Highway (Road Humps) Regulations 1999 and Regulation 8 of the Highway (Traffic Calming) Regulations 1999.

Where the Home Zone is contained within a 20mph zone, the legal requirement to sign traffic calming features in the Home Zone is removed.

Putting a home zone within a 20mph zone means that traffic is already travelling more slowly when it enters the home zone. It also gets over the problem of sign clutter as it is not then necessary to sign and light all features in the home zone.