Borough-wide 20mph consultation

Frequently asked questions

Q1: What is a 20mph speed limit?

20 miles per hour (mph) speed limits simply consist of a change in the speed limit.

You must not drive faster than the speed limit for the type of road and your type of vehicle. The speed limit is the absolute maximum - it doesn’t mean it’s safe to drive at this speed in all conditions. A speed limit of 30mph usually applies, however, local councils can set their own speed limits in certain areas, and these must be clearly signed. For example, 20mph zones or limits are often used in a built-up area or near a school.

Q2. Which roads will be considered for the 20mph speed limit?

The proposal is to include all roads managed by Kingston Council across the borough. This doesn’t include private roads or those under Transport for London’s control, which are the A3 and the service roads that run parallel (Hook Rise North/South, Tolworth Rise North/South, Malden Way North/South and Robin Hood Way), the A240 Kingston Road, south-east of the Tolworth junction at the A3 and A243 Hook Road, south of the  A3 Hook junction and Leatherhead Road to borough boundary.

Some of the roads in our borough already have a 20mph speed limit and would remain as they are, although existing signage would be reviewed to be consistent with the borough-wide scheme.

Q3: How will I know I’m in a 20mph speed limit area?

20mph signs will appear at the start and end of a speed limit area, as well as on the repeater signs displayed on lamposts along the road. On some roads 20mph markings will also be painted on the road itself.

Q4. Will there be speed cameras and could I get fined?

At this time there are no sites that would qualify for speed cameras. However, the situation would be reviewed after the new speed limit was put in place and, where needed, traffic calming measures could be considered at specific locations and consulted on as a separate proposal in the future. Existing speed humps would not be removed as part of this scheme.

Any new 20mph speed limit would be duly enforced by the Metropolitan Police, just as the 30mph one is at present and, as now, motorists caught speeding by police risk being fined.  Permanent speed cameras can only be installed at sites that meet very specific criteria about collisions and casualties. These criteria will not change as part of this proiect and the project does not include proposals for any permanent speed cameras at the present time.

Q5. Will the proposed new speed limit improve road safety?

Several studies have shown a close relationship between traffic speeds and road safety.

Research by the Department for Transport (DfT) shows that a 1mph reduction in speed results in a 6% reduction in collisions.

According to a study undertaken by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), casualties involving pedestrians hit by vehicles travelling at 20mph have a 2.5% chance of being fatally injured, whereas this figure rises to 20% at 30mph. Besides reducing the severity of injuries, a reduced speed will also result in more time for pedestrians to react and avoid impacts.

In Portsmouth, new 20mph speed limits resulted in an average speed reduction by 1.3mph which led to 21% less collisions. In Ealing, the new 20mph speed limit produced a reduction of up to three people killed or seriously injured and 60 slightly injured casualties every year.

Q6. Will my journey times be affected?

Although some journeys may take slightly longer, we estimate that the increase in time is likely to be measured in seconds for most journeys. In fact, in urban areas, traffic signals and congestion already result in vehicles frequently travelling at much lower speeds than 30mph.

Also, the potential minimal disadvantages to drivers in travel time are considered to be far outweighed by the benefits of increased road safety.

Q7: Will boundary roads be included?

The proposal is to include boundary roads and liaise with our neighbouring boroughs to successfully achieve this. The neighbouring London Borough of Richmond upon Thames is already progressing plans to implement a 20mph speed limit along all roads across its borough.

Q8: Will there be an impact on air quality?

Recent studies have shown that the speed of traffic is not a major factor in air quality, unlike volume of traffic and types of vehicles driven. It is hoped that the scheme will encourage people to embrace more sustainable transport options, such as walking and cycling, which will in turn enhance the quality of the air we breathe.

Q9. Will the proposed scheme be used by the council to generate revenue?

No. The new speed limit would only be enforced by the Metropolitan Police, hence any revenue derived from fines would go to Central Government.

Q10: If the scheme goes ahead will our borough be cluttered with signs?

No. Street clutter and road markings would be minimised, but will still need to comply with regulations to ensure the scheme is legal and effective. New 20mph signs would be placed on existing street lighting columns or posts wherever possible, as opposed to installing new posts. Wherever possible existing 20 mph signs will be reused and repositioned into new locations.

Q11. Will any parking spaces be lost?

No. The proposed 20mph speed limit would not impact on parking spaces in any road.

Q12: How will the proposed scheme be paid for?

Costs for the proposed speed limit will be met through funding from TfL, which has been granted to all London’s councils to carry out road safety improvements.

Q13: If the proposals are supported, when might the new 20mph speed limit be introduced?

The consultation will be carried out in Jan/Feb 2020, with a report on the findings going to the Environment and Sustainable Transport Committee in March. Subject to the committee approving the proposals, we would then need to undertake a statutory consultation for the speed limit change Traffic Management Order, which would run through spring 2020, where any objections would need to be resolved. It is therefore anticipated that the earliest any new measures would be implemented would be late Summer 2020.

Q14: What happens if residents in some roads agree and residents in other roads don’t?

We will consider all comments and feedback, which will inform the final decision that will be taken at committee. However, it is anticipated that roads that are part of a larger network will need to be considered on a strategic basis when drawing conclusions for the committee to consider.