How and why 20mph is emerging as the de-facto urban/village speed limit in the UK and beyond

Already 18 million people live in local authorities in England where a 20mph limit is the urban/village norm. In September 2023, Wales changes its national limit for restricted roads to 20mph and Scotland is planning for 20mph to be the urban/village norm by 2025. All over the world 20mph or 30km/h limits are being set at city and also national level.

This is a fundamental re-wiring of how we mix motors with people in places and builds on the international best practice (Stockholm Declaration) that 20mph/30kmh should be set where motors mix with cyclists and pedestrians unless a higher limit is evidenced as safe. In 2023, no longer is 20mph seen as an exception in some places, but now as what is desirable and normal. Reductions in speeds and casualties are being recognised, especially on faster arterial roads which have been included in recent years. And of course there are other benefits in emission and noise reductions, as well as active travel and public health.

This presentation will detail the changes and successes in 20mph adoption over the last five years and make the case for the UK government to deliver a 20mph norm across the remaining areas of England and Northern Ireland where the 30mph norm is still a legacy from last century thinking. If Welsh and Scottish communities are saying “Thanks for 20” then the rest of the UK should be able to say “Thanks for 20” also.

Rod King MBE, Founder, 20’s Plenty for Us

Rod King set up 20’s Plenty for Us in 2007 in order to assist communities wanting lower speed limits. With a focus on setting 20mph limits for most urban/village roads across a complete local authority, it now has over 700 local campaigns in UK, Ireland, USA, Canada and Australia.

20’s Plenty for Us is a not-for-profit organisation with a small core team, but thousands of local volunteers. At global level 30km/h is recognised as the best-practice speed limit for streets shared between motors and vulnerable road users. Rod is recognised for his UK and international work and has spoken at transport, active travel, road safety and public health conferences around the world.

In June 2013 Rod was awarded an MBE for Services to Road Safety, he received the Global Light of Hope Award from the Irish Road Victims Association in 2017 and provides his time on a pro bono basis.