Hackney, Camden and Waltham Forest join Islington in move to borough-wide 20mph

0n 21 November 2012, Hackney Council voted overwhelmingly to confirm its commitment to 20mph as the default speed limit for the borough.

Camden and Waltham Forest also recently joined Islington in committing to borough-wide 20mph speed limits in a bid to reduce the number of Londoners killed and seriously injured on the roads, while also encouraging walking and cycling.

The decision sees the potential for a block of four connected boroughs in North London with 20mph as the default speed limit on residential streets.

Gerhard Weiss of the Waltham Forest Cycling Campaign said, "Lower speed limits are essential where people live, work and shop.

"Ideally, they'd be strictly enforced, and in residential areas we'd also like to see measures that eliminate rat-running and give cycling and walking priority for the welfare of families and communities."

Many smaller roads in Camden, Hackney, and Waltham Forest already have a 20mph limit in place, but the councils proposes extending these to main roads too.

Last year, Islington became the first borough to introduce a blanket 20mph limit on all roads, although the Metropolitan Police said it wouldn't increase patrols to enforce the limit.

Islington and Hackney councils are planning to trial 20mph limits on some of the busy main roads making up the boundary between the boroughs.  They will test how easy it is to enforce the new limits and look out for changes in casualties and perception of danger on those roads.

Enforcement can start with council vehicles

Trevor Parsons of Hackney Cycling Campaign said, "Even without widespread enforcement, 20mph can be enforced on the council's own fleet, many of which already have devices installed which gather detailed records of how they are driven.

"Other vehicles engaged in public service - such as contractors' vehicles, emergency service vehicles while not on call and buses - could also be compelled to adhere to the limit."

There is strong evidence, published in the British Medical Journal, that reducing speed limits in urban areas from 30mph to 20mph reduces deaths and serious injuries for all road users, with greatest effect on cyclists and walkers.

Opponents of the measure mistakenly cited 2012 figures from the Department for Transport as evidence of an increase in casualties on roads with a 20mph limits.

However, the figures don't show an increase in the rate of KSIs on these roads, merely an increase in the total number caused by there being many more 20mph roads now than when the figures were first compiled.


Just to clarify that Islington will have implemented 20mph limits on all main roads by March 2013, following a Council Exec decision a year ago, statutory consultation and a further Exec decision recently to go ahead with implementation despite objections from the police.  The Exec also "noted" that TfL are reserving the right to charge Islington for reverasal of the speed limit if necessary. The borough boundary roads are being viewed as a trial by neighbouring boroughs but they have allowed Islington to go ahead with implementation.  Next stop Holloway Rd (the A1)...

  • By raif_s at 6:27pm 30 November 2012

While good news, this story is inaccurate in one respect - the default speed limit in built-up areas has been set by an Act of Parliament at 30mph since 1934. In the absence of national legislation to change this, all local authorities can do is introduce local speed limits and sign them, so that 20mph becomes the norm on their streets.

A coalition of NGOs is now calling for the default speed limit to be changed - see http://go20.org/ - but this would require action by the Government to change the law (rather than just produce new guidance). Has LCC thought about signing up to this GO 20 campaign?

Also worth noting that with the City of London voting to move forward with 20mph on 27 November and as Southwark is considering something similar, it's looking like the eastern side of Inner London could go 20. Time to get Westminster and Kensington & Chelsea moving on 20mph too.

Islington are also signing up to the lorries campaign. I have been informed by Cllr Catherine West that they are currently auditing the council's fleet and will produce a firm timetable for implementing it in full early next year. This is a great sign for cyclists from Islington and I will be checking up to see it gets done. 


@ Caroline - I'm disappointed by the police not feeling they are able to support lower speed limits, I'm not quite sure what their objection to pleasant people-friendly streets is. Any ideas?


Also I can't agree with you more about the Holloway Road. I've lived a stones throw from it since I was 9 months old. In all the time I can remember the only thing which has been done to make it better was making it a red route & the bus lanes (although there aren't any by my house). It is long overdue that the council did something to make this better for the thousands of people who live near it, it is incredible that so little has been done in 20 years. What is the big problem?

  • By Tomm at 10:32am 19 March 2015

This content was deleted by smsm1 at 11:40pm 12 April 2015.

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