Speed Limits

Department for Transport written question – answered at on 7 February 2020.

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Photo of Kenny MacAskill Kenny MacAskill Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Justice Team Member)

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what recent assessment he has made of the potential merits of making 20mph the default speed limit on urban and restricted roads.

Photo of George Freeman George Freeman Minister of State (Department for Transport)

Local traffic authorities are best placed to set local speed limits based on local needs and priorities. The Government has no plans to consider making 20mph the default speed limit on urban and restricted roads in England. Setting national speed limits in Scotland and in Wales are matters for the Scottish and Welsh governments respectively.

In November 2018, the Department published its comprehensive three-year study of the effect of 20 mph limits. The report is available online at:


Some of the key findings from the research include that 20mph limits are supported by most residents and drivers, and that introducing a 20mph limit may reduce traffic speed by around 1 mph. Encouragingly, vehicles travelling at higher speeds before the introduction of the 20mph limit have reduced their speed more than those already travelling at lower speeds. However, there is not enough evidence to conclude that that there has been a significant change in collisions and casualties following the introduction of 20mph limits in residential areas.

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