City-wide 20 mph speed limit


We propose that the whole of Ely be made a 20mph zone. Please visit the campaign web site for this project and sign the petition:

Ely is a small city with many old and narrow streets and modern housing estates. Reducing the speed limit to 20 mph on all of these roads will improve the quality of life for all of Ely residents and in particular make cycling safer.

There is a national momentum to move to 20 mph ones in residential areas and we feel that Ely could be at the forefront of that.

The map below shows the area we think should be covered by a default 20mph limit. It would send a clear and simple message that it is the expected of drivers to go slow. We do realise there might have to be exceptions to the rule and some roads might have to stay 30mph, but we believe that should be the exception as most roads in Ely, including ‘trunk’ roads, are actually residential (Cambridge Road, Lynn Road etc) or have schools nearby (Downham Road, King’s Avenue).


View larger map

Project progress to date

July 2012

This project is in its initial phase at the moment. The project was suggested at a recent public consultation and was widely supported. We also started a discussion on ShapeYourPlace with a poll which again suggests that around 60-70% of people are in favour. The Ely Standard has also picked up on this discussion ran a news story on 21 June.

As of 16 July we have now a dedicated campaign web site:


Background and further information

Detailed information on the benefits of 20 mph can be found at and Cambridgeshire County Councils policy on speed limits can be found here:

The Rationale []

The rationale for 20 mph as the default speed limit for residential streets.

In Britain ……

More than half of road deaths and serious injuries occur on roads with 30 mph limits
(Transport Statistics for Great Britain).

Britain has the highest percentage of pedestrian road fatalities in Europe 22.5%.
(EU European Road Safety Observatory)

Britain has one of the lowest levels of children walking or cycling to school in Europe.

Speed limits on Britain’s urban roads are 60% higher than Europe.
(30 mph compared to 18.6 mph)

British parents consistently cite traffic speed as the main reason why their children are not allowed to cycle or walk to school.

Lowering urban and residential speed limits to 20 mph has been found to increase a urban journeys by just 40 seconds maximum.

Lowering urban and residential speed limits to 20 mph has been found to decrease child pedestrian accidents by up to 70%(Transport Research Laboratory). In Portsmouth the 20mph limit on all residential roads has reduced casualties by 22%.

In Hilden, Germany……

24% of in town trips are made by bicycle.

All residential streets have an 18.5 mph speed limit, with some reduced to 9 mph.

Road side cycle tracks are being removed as the road is an even safer place for cyclists to be and is more direct and more convenient.

In Britain……

In Portsmouth, and Newcastle, and Leicester and Oxford, and Hull, and Bristol, and Warrington, and Islington and many more towns, council officials are using the recent DfT Guidelines changes to introduce blanket 20 mph limits on residential streets.

80% of the public and 75% of drivers support 20 mph as a speed limit on residential streets.

It time for our residential roads to be equitably shared with all the users by setting an appropriate speed limit that protects the young and the vulnerable.

Common myths about 20mph []

Speed Bumps You can’t put in 20 mph without physical traffic calming. That is both unpopular and expensive. No-one will want it. NOT CORRECT

Slower journeys If you slow traffic down to 20 mph then it is obvious that journeys will take 50% longer. This will cause delays and is not acceptable. NOT CORRECT

Police won’t enforce it. The police will not enforce 20 mph. Therefore it will be ignored by motorists. NOT CORRECT

It increases Pollution If you put in speed bumps and drivers accelerate between them, then this constant acceleration and braking does increase fuel usage. But where 20mph limits are put in place then this encourages steadier driving using less fuel with less pollution. It also encourages people to walk or cycle and therefore reducing their car-created pollution entirely. Hence it is NOT CORRECT that 20mph limits increase pollution.

One thought on “City-wide 20 mph speed limit

  1. Colin Dooley

    From the BBC today:

    Page last updated at 10:53 GMT+01:00, Saturday, 14 July 2012
    Tougher speed limit power planned

    There are about 2,000 of the 20mph schemes in England, the DfT says
    English councils are to be given more freedom to introduce 20mph speed limits under proposals to improve road safety.

    They would also be given more power to use variable speed limits outside schools under draft guidance issued by the Department for Transport (DfT).

    Under the plans – open to public consultation – councils would have more scope to cut rural road speeds.

    Road Safety Minister Mike Penning said it was “vital that speed limits are suitable for local conditions”.

    The DfT says there are about 2,000 of the 20mph schemes in England; it cites research suggesting they can reduce collisions and injuries by 60%.

    A new online speed limit appraisal tool will help councils to assess the benefits and costs of such schemes.

    “Road safety is a top priority and the guidance will help councils make evidence-based decisions to introduce local speed limits that reflect the needs of all road users,” Mr Penning added.

    No changes are planned to the national speed limits of 30mph on street-lit roads, 60mph on single carriageway roads and 70mph on dual carriageways and motorways.

    BBC © 2012

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