Calls for blanket 20mph speed limit dismissed again

File pic.

Calls to introduce a default 20mph speed limit in built-up areas across North Yorkshire have again been unanimously dismissed after the highways authority said it would focus spending its road safety funding on areas it could make a bigger impact.

A meeting of North Yorkshire County Council’s executive saw a series of changes to the authority’s 20mph policy and agreement among all the leading councillors that a targeted approach to low speed zones be continued as a blanket approach could cost up to £12m to introduce, leading to a council tax hike.

The meeting heard from numerous pressure groups, parish councils and residents who claimed the authority was out of step with both a growing national and local desire to lower 30mph limits in towns and villages.

Ian Conlon, of the 20s Plenty campaign, told the meeting some 59 parish councils in the county had voted for 20mph limits.

He said: “Parish councils are your eyes and ears to the ground by reporting ongoing problems with.”

Mr Conlon said the authority’s policy was frustrating the key government policy of encouraging active travel, as well as affecting community cohesion.

He emphasised that perception of danger was important, rather than just accident statistics which the council appeared to rely on.

The meeting heard Department for Transport figures highlighted that each fatality costed the pubic purse some £2m and serious injuries about £250,000.

Mick Johnston, of Thirsk and Malton Labour Party, said the council needed to undertake a “radical rethink” rather than looking at old government circulars and outdated reports, and end the “interminable process of application an assessment” for residents wanting 20mph zones introduced.

Susan Woodhall, Monk Fryston Parish Council chair, added with the current 30mph limit it was extremely difficult for residents to cross the A63 safely to reach key facilities in the village.

After suggestions that numerous groups had been overlooked by the council’s review, officers said North Yorkshire’s policy was consistent with national guidelines and that the review had been thorough.

The authority’s opposition leader, Councillor Stuart Parsons, said police carried out no speed enforcement in the large area in Richmond that was covered by a 20mph zone.

He said: “On many an evening we have what seems like trial runs of the Monaco Grand Prix on the streets of Richmond.”

Councillor Parsons called on the county council to exert pressure on the police to enforce speed limits so 20mph in built-up areas could be introduced as a default.

However, the council’s executive member for access, Councillor Don Mackenzie said the county’s roads were becoming safer and safer, and 20mph zones should only be created on a case by case basis.

He said the available money for road safety should be focused on exceptions, such as young and older drivers, motorcyclists, cyclists and drink and drug drivers.

He said: “One area where we see very few casualties and where we are very safe indeed, without being complacent, is in built-up areas and accidents caused by speed. This is an area of very very small amounts of incidents on our roads.”


  1. A 20 mph speed limit would cause most cars to crawl along in third gear causing worse CO2 and other emissions compared to having a 30 mph limit.

    • At last someone with common Sence, these idiots wanting 20mph will course more situations than 30mph. Ian Conlon get off your high horse and find something more worth while. To much time on your hands.

  2. At Leyburn Town Council meeting in October we reported how speeding is a constant problem on A684, and how speed police visible from over 400m away, and only present in daytime, cannot take an accurate picture of the problem. We cross the pedestrian crossing near Myers two or thee times a day as dog walkers and on a weekly basis have near misses as people fail to stop, or overtake slowing cars and continue through the crossing. 30mph signs don’t slow traffic so why would 20mph limits. We need traffic control crossings, low pedestrian traffic would not impact vehicle traffic flow but do give a safe place for people, particularly elderly residents of kirkwood care home facility who dread using the current crossing.

    • Get the police to sit at the junction of sleegill and theakston lane on a nite.the speed cars shoot up and down these roads is Ridiculous.

  3. 20 mph zones do not work…i live in a village which is expanding at an alarming rate and vehicle after vehicle do not adhere to the new limits so what is the point.. i am 62 yrs old and when i was young we were taught how to safely cross the road and how to safely use a bicycle why not do that now instead of putting responsability on every road user..

  4. Twenty miles per hour limits don’t and have a detrimental effect on thirty mph limits. People ignore them and instead of observing the 30 mph actually speed up. We have had them for number of years in Lancashire where they are not enforced but taken into account in the case of an accident.

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